Travis Head has vowed not to be distracted by a World Cup berth as he prepares to succeed Aaron Finch at the top of Australia’s ODI order.
Head will start against England in Adelaide on Thursday, and are set to link up with David Warner for the first time since Finch’s retirement in September.
The match marks the first of 17 for Australia heading into next year’s tournament, with first place and bowling’s fast attack among several big questions for the selectors.
Head has emerged as the clear favorite with his selection for the series against England, having scored 101 and 89 in the opener in Pakistan earlier this year.
But he also knows how quickly a place in the World Cup can be taken away from him.
The South Australian played 42 games for his country between the 2015 and 2019 World Cups, before being dropped just six months from the 2019 tournament.
“So now, 12 months later to have my chance to make the team, it’s an exciting opportunity,” Head told reporters in Adelaide.
“But I try not to put too much pressure on myself to do something different.
“I had very good success at the top. So I don’t want to change that and my mindset about it.
“I’ve played a lot of one-day cricket to know what’s expected of me and what’s expected of me and my performance.
“You can’t look too far ahead, there’s a lot of cricket to come. I just want to start Thursday really well and play my role as best I can.”
In replacing Finch, Head is looking to fill the boots of one of world cricket’s most prolific opening stands over the past 10 years, with Warner and Finch averaging 47.94.
The pair also hit 5.77 together, winning the 2015 World Cup and playing in 2019.
Head is also ready to bowl early, but with a few caveats.
The southpaw hits 93.72 in cricket at 50 for Australia, but that figure rises to 104.9 when opening the batting and using the power play.
“There’s the opportunity to put the pressure on in the first 10 overs…And I think that’s where I play best too,” Head said.
“But you have to respect the new ball, it will still swing.
“I’m lucky to have someone really good (at Warner) on the other end of the line, we feed each other when we’ve done it many times (together).”
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