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End for David Warner? Marcus Harris' Impressive Record in England Puts Him Ahead for Ashes

image-lg69a2moMarcus Harris made his Test debut in 2018 against India (ICC Twitter)

Cricket Australia's selection committee chairman, George Bailey, has hinted that the Australian cricket team has identified Marcus Harris as the prime candidate to succeed David Warner as the team's long-term Test opener.

Harris, who has not played in a Test match since January 2022, was the reserve batter with the Australian Test squad last summer. However, he was not included in the squad that toured India and was overlooked in favour of Matthew Renshaw for the SCG Test.

Nonetheless, Bailey has confirmed that the 30-year-old opener is their preferred option for the upcoming Tests in England and New Zealand, along with the home series against Pakistan and West Indies next summer. 

Speaking at a press conference, the former Australian captain expressed his admiration for Harris's ability to perform well in English conditions, adding that his impressive record in the UK speaks volumes about his talent and skill.

"Looking ahead, back in England, another home summer and then some Tests in New Zealand, we certainly rate Harry's ability in those conditions. Really good, strong record in England as well,” said Bailey.

The Aussie chief selector also indicated that the selectors take into account the past performance of the players while awarding contracts, but their vision also extends towards the future.

"Certainly one of our criteria when we're doing the contracts is past performance, but certainly another one is an eye to the future as well. So that perhaps gives an indication of where we hold Harry," added the former captain.

Harris's inclusion in the recently-announced list of 24-player contracts reveals that he is highly valued by the committee, alongside his rivals, Cameron Bancroft, Peter Handscomb, and Matthew Renshaw.

The 40-year-old further acknowledged that David Warner and Usman Khawaja are closer to the end of their careers than the start. As a result, the team will need to cultivate depth in their batting options. 

Harris's technique tweak after his torrid experience during the 2019 Ashes tour has helped him become one of the most consistent performers at the domestic level. He has averaged an impressive 46.23 in the Sheffield Shield since then, with five centuries to his name.