Melbourne: Nathan Bracken has said Australia might have no choice but to play back-up wicket-keeper Tim Paine in the top-six due to a lack of balance in the World Cup squad.
With Australia likely to risk taking Mike Hussey to the subcontinent in the hope he will be fit for the later stages of the group phase, selectors will have to choose between his brother David and Paine to bat in the top six.
Speaking to a website, Bracken suggested that Paine might have to play as a specialist batsman in a vital lower-order role, along with keeper Brad Haddin.
Bracken believes Paine is a good enough batsman; the situation could have been avoided by picking Brad Hodge, a senior batsman who knows how to dictate the tempo of a one-day international.
“I was listening to Andrew Hilditch the other night who said they’ve literally picked the top six batsmen – they’ve fitted them in, they’ve (got their) roles and scored runs, played together for a while – that’s all fantastic, but at the moment there’s not a lot of cover,” Bracken said.
“To be honest, from what I’ve heard, (Paine’s) been picked as back-up keeper and a back-up batter as well. He’s batted top of the order for Australia, scored a 100 at Notts (Nottinghamshire county side), so obviously you’ve got to be a decent cricketer to do all that,” he said.
“He’s scored runs for Tasmania, runs in Test cricket, the thing is, he can bat. Him being picked as a batter, I don’t think it’s a major issue,” Bracken said.
Bracken believes Mike Hussey needs to be given every chance to prove his fitness because the balance of the side hinges on his unique role.