Besieged Burns not feeling Test pressure

Besieged opener Joe Burns isn’t feeling the pressure and is in a “good headspace’’ as he fights to retain his spot for next month’s first Test against India in Adelaide.

Burns was on Thursday named in a 17-man national squad for the four-match Test series against the Indians despite a poor run of form for Queensland in Sheffield Shield cricket.

Also named in the squad was Victorian run-machine Will Pucovski, the player most likely to knock Burns out of the Test XI after sizzling recent Shield form that has included scores of 255 not out and 202.

The pair were also named in a 19-man Australia A squad for two matches – only one of which Test players will be involved – against India and performances in that game could determine who plays in Adelaide.

Burns, 31, has amassed 1379 runs at an average of more than 40 in 21 Tests, including four centuries, but has scored just 57 runs from five Shield innings this season.

Queensland assistant coach and former Australian one-day international all-rounder James Hopes said while Burns would have wanted more Shield runs, his “body of work’’ over time should reward him with first Test selection.

Youngsters Cameron Green and Will Pucovski are included in Australia's 17-player squad to take on India in the Vodafone Test Series! 🙌

Australia A squad + more from National Selector Trevor Hohns: https://t.co/sNmm32L2zt pic.twitter.com/BlbCOva9cB

“He’s proven he can score runs in Test cricket,” Hopes said.

“While he hasn’t got a consistent run at it, you can’t judge a player on three games and he’s done enough that he deserves to start alongside Dave Warner in the first Test.

“The top six should be status quo for the first couple of Tests. I don’t think you mess around with the Indians.

“You go in with your experienced line-up and your proven line-up, and you go head to head with them.”

Hopes said Burns had proved conjecture about his Test spot was not affecting him by his selfless act in Queensland’s win over South Australia this week.

Chasing quick runs to allow the Bulls to set a second-innings run-chase for the Redbacks, Burns was caught behind hooking for 11.

SCENES 🙌
Bulls win a thriller with just minutes to spare!#SheffieldShield #MaroonGrown pic.twitter.com/UzfKV2SfBY

“It didn’t worry him that there was a chance he would go out there to try to score quick runs and not score runs again,” Hopes said.

“He just went out there and tried to do a job for the team. That shows the headspace that he’s in.

“He’s been really good around the group, he’s fielded the house down … his value to the team’s been immense.”

Joining Burns in the extended Test squad are fellow Queenslanders Marnus Labuschagne, Michael Neser and Mitch Swepson.

Leg-spinner Swepson is in the form of his life as he edges closer to a Test debut.

“Mitch has really developed beautifully over the past 12 months … he’s now a world-class spinner,” Hopes said.

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