Test opener Joe Burns headed to Byon Bay and faced “thousands of balls” after being frustrated by a poor Sheffield Shield return which turned the blowtorch on him ahead of the series against India.
Greats of the game from Allan Border to Greg Chappell said Victorian dynamo Will Pucovksi had to replace Burns as David Warner’s opening partner after the 22-year-old plundered back-to-back double hundreds.
Burns didn’t pass 30 in five innings for Queensland, which he said was “frustrating” as runs flowed around him and a result of “chasing the game” after a long winter layoff.
A groin injury to Warner will most likely see Burns and Pucovski bat together in the first Test in Adelaide, taking the pressure off the pair who will team up for Australia A against India A from Sunday.
The pair have only batted togther once, and Burns said building a raopport was “crucially important” for an opening duo.
Burns had the backing of coach Justiun Langer and captain Tim Paine to keep his place even before Warner’s injury.
So Burns used his time after the last Shield game last month to re-focus on finding the patience he knows he needs to be the best Test opener he can be.
“The last few weeks I actually got a chance to go away to Byron Bay.Our batting coach from Queensland, Adam Hollioake was coming down and we were training all day,”Burns said on Thursday.
“The key thing I was working on was patience. After such a long layoff there is alays a temptation to want to hit the ball and feel like you are in good rythym.
“But it’s a reminder you are are the mercy of the bowler and what’s coming and having the discipline for long periods of time to absorb pressure and know the runs will come from there.
“I faced thousands of balls and just teried to gace each ball like it’s my first one.”
Burns said talk around his place in the side was warranted after his his poor return for Queensland, but he knew he was better than what he was producing.
“I think back to the back-end of the last Shield season and we were playing on green-tops with Dukes balls and I feel like it was the best I have ever batted in my career,” he said.
“I got to Adelaide and I was licking my lips seeing some flat wickets and hoping to make plenty of runs, but I just found ways to get out.”
But he also said he never enetered any game, including the Australia A match amid talk of a “bat off” with Pucovksi, thinking about his own spot.
“I don’t think anyone at this level goes out there with an individual focus, and if you do you are doing yourself and your team a disservice,” Burns said.
“It’s never a bat-off.
“The focus has always been trying to win games and staring this week with Australia A, it’s about sorting our prep for the Indian series but also putting India on the back foot and landing the first punch.”
Australia A will take on India A at Drummoyne Oval in Sydney from Sunday.