Matthew Wade could be the first beneficiary of David Warner’s groin injury with the Tasmanian a chance to play his first ODI in three years.
Australia are still weighing up how to replace Warner in Wednesday’s final ODI against India in Canberra, as they pursue their first clean sweep against the tourists in any format since 1999.
Selectors could also opt to move Alex Carey to the top of the order, after he last opened against India in 2019, while Marnus Labuschagne is another option.
But a desire to keep the successful middle order stable has made Wade favourite to come into the side at the top of the order.
Wade hasn’t played a one-day game for Australia since October 2017 and has not opened in an ODI since 2013.
But the aggressive left-hander is considered a like-for-like replacement for Warner, which could swing selectors in his favour.
“That’s what you have to weigh up, whether you go a pure like-for-like with Wadey as a left-hander and opening batter,” captain Aaron Finch said on Tuesday.
“Or you shuffle around a bit.
“The middle order has been functioning really well over the last little while, we played well in England and it’s done really good job in this series as well.
“That’s why we might not want to do that.
“Alex Carey, the role of him and Maxi (Glenn Maxwell) at No.6 and 7 has been really crucial and probably provides a bit of freedom for the middle order to be aggressive.”
The absence of Warner from the remaining white-ball games against India is a severe blow, given he and Finch have averaged 72 for the first wicket since Warner’s return from his 12-month ban.
But it is in the Test arena where his absence will be felt more, with coach Justin Langer now admitting he is fighting against the odds to be fit for the first Test starting December 17.
Pat Cummins will be rested from Wednesday’s final ODI and the three Twenty20s, with Andrew Tye, Daniel Sams and Sean Abbott the options to replace him.
But even with the ODI series wrapped up, Australia at this stage do not intend to rest any other players.
Finch meanwhile insisted there was no dramatic concern over paceman Mitchell Starc’s form, even though he went for 147 runs across the opening two ODIs in Sydney.
“I think he is going okay. He hasn’t been at his very best, but you have to understand his standards are a lot higher than other people’s,” Finch said.
“He would love to be swinging the ball and getting it right early on.
“But it’s reality that when you’re defending big totals and playing against good players they come hard at you.
“There will be some conversations today about what we can do today, whether it’s a tactical thing or using him different.
“But it’s certainly no panic stations for me.”