Peter Handscomb is expected to be dropped for the third Ashes Test but Steve Smith and Simon Katich say the batsman can bounce back if that happens.
Australia are leaning towards axing Peter Handscomb after just three Test knocks in the Ashes series, but Steve Smith is confident the under-pressure batsman can bounce back if that happens.
Smith has failed to confirm Handscomb's omission from the XI who had defeated England in Adelaide, noting selectors want to inspect the pitch on the opening morning of the final Ashes Test at the WACA.
But Thursday's final pitch inspection is expected to bring bad news for Handscomb, with allrounder Mitch Marsh set to be recalled.
"We think we need an extra bowler on this wicket and the stats suggest, over the last couple of years, that the bowlers have had a fairly heavy workload out on this wicket," Smith told reporters.
"So we're probably leaning down that way at the moment.
"But if it's going to be hard, fast and bouncy, that might again change our thinking."
Handscomb has passed 50 in one of his nine first-class knocks since the start of the season, with Shane Warne leading the calls for change.
Smith noted the right-hander would be unlucky if omitted.
"It's for the extra bowling option ... nothing to do with anyone's batting," he said.
"We still see a very bright future for Pete.
"He can certainly play the game and, if he is to miss out, there's no reason why he won't be back in the team soon.
To make matters worse for Handscomb - or anyone on the cusp of the Test team - he would need to push for a recall in the Big Bash League.
The prospect of an out-of-form batsman convincing selectors he warrants a recall in a couple of Twenty20 knocks is highly unlikely.
That could mean Handscomb is forced to wait until March 1, when Australia's tour of South Africa starts, for his next chance to play Test cricket.
"This is the harsh reality of the schedule now. The players know that and accept it," former opener Simon Katich said of the Sheffield Shield mid-season break.
"It's not easy for someone who is in the Test team, or on the fringes of the Test team and trying to force their way in. Unfortunately, that's the way it is.
"I wouldn't be surprised if they make the one change."
Katich backed Handscomb, who started his Test career brightly last summer with centuries in Brisbane and Sydney, to bounce back if dropped.
Jonny Bairstow had mixed feelings about the form of Yorkshire teammate Handscomb, who had been among the many Australians to sledge England's keeper this summer.
"Everyone's been through difficult times, whether that be with the bat or anything," Bairstow said.
"At some point, we'll be able to empathise with him."