Burns likely to make Test debut on Boxing Day

"He's a simple guy that just loves playing the game"

“He’s a simple guy that just loves playing the game”

Image courtesy of: ESPNcricinfo

Queensland batsman Joe Burns is set to make his debut during the Boxing Day Test against India after he was included in Australia’s squad in place of the injured Mitchell Marsh.

Marsh will remain with the national team as he is expected to recover from his hamstring injury in time for the fourth Test in Sydney.

Burns has enjoyed a lot of success in the Sheffield Shield thus far, scoring 439 runs at a brilliant average of 54.87. However, it was his 183 against New South Wales that really captured the national selectors’ attention.

Even though Burns has scored first-class centuries while batting at number 3, 4 and 5, head coach Darren Lehmann stated that he is not sure where the 25-year-old will bat during the Boxing Day Test.

“I’ll have to speak to Steven [Smith], the skipper about that,” Lehmann said. “But he can fit anywhere from 1 to 6. That’s the advantage with Joe, he can bat in the middle order or up high. We’ve got some flexibility there. It depends on which way we want to go.”

Lehmann also admitted that the tragic death of Phillip Hughes and Usman Khawaja’s ACL injury really helped catapult Burns into the spotlight.

“He’s a very good player against fast bowling,” Lehmann said. “He’s proved that. He’s played at the Gabba for the last couple of years and had a good couple of summers in Shield cricket. His performances this year have been very good.

“He got a good 180 here against Doug Bollinger and Trevor Hohns and Mark Waugh saw that and were very impressed with that. There’s been some good contenders for that spot. It’s always a tough call on other players but we went with Joe, a younger player. We think he’s got something about him. We hope he does well.”

Lehmann has even coached Burns in the past and clearly remembers when he scored an unbeaten 140 on debut in February 2011.

“When I [first] saw him play, I thought he could really play at the next level,” Lehmann said. “It’s taken him a while, he’s had some ups and downs like all players do. He’s put his name up at the right time. An opportunity comes up now. He’s got to grab it.

“He’s a good young kid, a cricket nuffy, which we love in our side. He’ll be excited by the call up. He was certainly excited when Rod [Marsh] called him about an hour ago. He’s done everything he can to present himself as the player he is. He’s a very aggressive player, which is always good to see. That’s the way we like to play. He’s a simple guy that just loves playing the game.”

Burns himself is ecstatic to have finally been called up to the Test team and is determined to make the most of this opportunity.

“It’s incredibly exciting, especially at this time of year,” Burns said. “I’m really looking forward to getting amongst the team and learning the way the boys play and the team culture and go from there full steam ahead on Boxing Day.

“I am looking forward to having Boof as Australian coach. I really enjoyed playing under him and if I do play on Boxing Day it will be with great pride that he’s my first Australian coach. Hopefully there’s plenty of games to come.”

Australia Test Squad: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Steven Smith (capt), Shaun Marsh, Joe Burns, Brad Haddin (wk), Mitchell Johnson, Mitchell Starc, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood

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