The Underappreciated Aussie Ashes Gun Nobody Ever Mentions
Apart from Steve Smith, he's a long way ahead of the pack.
Does the phrase "a long way AHEAD" give you a clue? Of course it does. Yes, we speak of Travis Head, and it's time Australian cricket fans gave him the love he deserves.
Here's a stat: Coming into this series, guess who was the only Aussie batsman in this squad, apart from Steve Smith, to average 50 or higher in Test cricket?
Not Davey Warner, who averaged 48 -- and who now averages 47.55 after two low scores at Edgbaston.
You already know the answer. Yep, it was Travis Head, who averaged 51 before this series, and who made assured scores of 35 and 51 at Edgbaston to maintain his average right around the 50 mark.
The 25-year-old South Australia leftie debuted against Pakistan 10 months ago, and has now played nine Tests. But he's been in the Australian set-up for a while, having debuted in One Day International cricket in 2016.
Head has been highly regarded for some time now by the right people in Australian cricket. He was named captain of his state at the age of just 21, and has dominated all forms of domestic cricket.
His weakness, if he had one, was that he played too aggressively at times. The fact he's made just nine centuries and 42 fifties in his First-class cricket career illustrates that. Too often in the past, he got out short of three figures when he's done the hard work.
"But as I've matured a little bit and played a lot more cricket, I've got more of an understanding of how I want to play on different wickets, especially in the last 12 months," he told cricket.com.au before this series.
"I've taken more time (to construct an innings) and tried to give myself a chance a bit more than I did when I was younger."
While Head didn't go on to make a century in the first Test which Australia won by 251 runs, he toughed it out twice while the innings was crumbling around him. And if not for Head's stubborn resistance, there's no way Steve Smith could have stuck around long enough to make twin centuries.
Head made more runs overnight -- notching a century in Australia's tour match against Worcestershire. His assured 109 not out on the ground where he played County Cricket last year was just another step in the evolution of a player we don't talk about enough, but no doubt soon will.
Yes, Travis is increasingly a step ahead. And he's developed a pretty level head too without ever getting -- you guessed it -- a big head.