Travis Head is adamant he can take his brilliant batting form during the home Test summer to India amid suggestions he could be used as an opener to address his ordinary record in the subcontinent.
The selection of Peter Handscomb and Matt Renshaw in the 18-man squad has put pressure on the incumbent batters to perform, and while Head has starred during back-to-back home summers, he has struggled on road.
Head, who took his Test average to over 45 with more than 500 runs against the West Indies and South Africa, managed a high score of just 26 in seven innings in Pakistan and Sri Lanka in 2022.
In the two Test against Sri Lanka in Galle, he made a total of 23 runs, his best efforts coming with the ball after taking 4-10 to spin Australia to victory in the first match.
His struggles against spin promoted suggestions Head could be moved to the top of the batting order to take advantage of his attacking abilities and leave him less exposed to spin against an older ball.
But the South Australian, who made his fifth Test hundred with an imperious 175 against the West Indies in Adelaide, was confident the work he’d done, and his positivity, had him well-placed to perform in India.
“I feel like not much needs to change (with my technique),” Head said.
“I think maybe I need to be a little bit more positive when I’m at the crease because I’m definitely at my best when I’m more positive.
“It’s been such a small sample size for me in Asia.”
Australian selection chief George Bailey singled out Victorian captain Peter Handscomb, who was included in the squad pending a scan after injuring himself in club cricket, as proven in the subcontinent, and he could rival Head for a spot during the four-match series.
“Peter Handscomb deserves his place back in the squad,” Bailey said. “
“His domestic form has been strong recently and Pete has proven he can perform at Test level.
“His experience against spin on the subcontinent is valuable.”
Australia won’t play any warm-up matches in India, with Head instead returning to the Big Bash to play out the season with the Adelaide Strikers.
He said his proven white-ball form in the subcontinent, with a century in Pakistan, was part of his method to get runs in Test cricket there too.
“I have been working on a few things (for India) which have worked for me well in the white-ball format,” he told SEN.
“That’s given me a lot of confidence to go out and play the way that I want to play.”
“Hopefully, I can translate that into a bit of red-ball (cricket) and I believe I’m only a couple of hits away from turning it around.
“We’ve got seven or eight days when we get to India to prepare (for the first Test) and crack into it.”
Head will join Test wicketkeeper Alex Carey in a return to the Strikers on Saturday.