Test spots up for grabs in Shield shootout

Matthew Renshaw will attempt to restart his Test career with big runs in Sheffield Shield.It is pointless for ‘s young guns to feign ignorance regarding what is at stake as they enter the second round of a Sheffield Shield shootout that will shape the Test XI.
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A last-start collapse in a lopsided loss to Pakistan, suspensions to Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft, and Usman Khawaja’s knee injury mean ‘s batting order is in a state of flux.

“It’s very open. Because we’re not performing,” coach Justin Langer said on Wednesday.

Matthew Renshaw, who returns for Queensland against South from Thursday as he seeks to relaunch his Test career after being overlooked in the UAE, and Victoria captain Peter Handscomb headline the list of options selectors will canvass.

A stack of highly-rated youngsters also have the chance to demand selection before ‘s four-Test series against India starts in Adelaide on December 6.

Will Pucovski, sidelined from Victoria’s MCG match against NSW this week after becoming the ninth player in Shield history to celebrate a double-century before his 21st birthday, has already been billed as a Test bolter.

SA opener Jake Weatherald, Tasmania’s Jake Doran, Queensland left-hander Sam Heazlett, NSW teenagers Jack Edwards and Jason Sangha, and Western n Josh Philippe are among the other young batsmen to have shouldered the burden of being the ‘next big thing’ as juniors.

Trevor Hohns started his current stint as chairman of selectors blooding Renshaw, who had played 12 first-class games at that point.

Langer has reiterated he wants to pick whoever is making the most runs.

“Whether you’re an 18-year-old wonderboy or a 30-year-old run machine,” Langer told radio station SEN.

Realistically, a couple of Shield centuries could catapult any batsman into contention.

Former Test opener Chris Rogers, who mentors the next generation of stars as Cricket ‘s high-performance coach, describes it as good pressure.

“It’s how players go about coping with that stress and focusing on what they’re doing now, rather than worrying about what could happen in three or four weeks,” Rogers told AAP.

“There’s always that thought at the back of your mind that if you do well there might be an opportunity to play for and realise your life’s dream.

“It can all happen very quickly.

“But these young guys really have to earn their way into that side.”

Pucovski earned widespread praise for his match-winning 243 in Perth, where Philippe produced his maiden first-class ton.

Edwards and Sangha made few headlines on debut last week but played key roles helping Peter Nevill halt what had all the hallmarks of a final-day collapse.

Weatherald and Doran finished fourth and fifth respectively on last season’s list of run-scorers.

“There’s so much to like about a lot of players coming through,” Rogers said.

“If the coaches as a group can help these players, in a few years we might actually see an upsurge in our batting stocks.”