Selector Mark Waugh has backed Matthew Renshaw to "do the job" in the Magellan Ashes but concedes he would have liked to have seen more runs from the under-pressure opener early in the domestic season.
Renshaw is expected to hold onto his spot for the first Test against England despite falling for just 16 against NSW on Monday, his fifth sub-20 score from five innings so far in the JLT Sheffield Shield.
Selectors will gather on Wednesday to decide on their squad for the Gabba and while Waugh agreed Renshaw has been short of runs, he backed the left-hander to find form.
"I'm not saying that,” Waugh said when asked if Renshaw's spot was up for grabs. “But I’m saying it would have been nice to see him score a few more runs in the season so far.
"His record for Australia is very good, his average is about 37 and he’s batted in some tough conditions in India and played well and played well last summer. Like everybody, he would have liked more runs so far in the season ... but we know what he can do.
"You can’t score runs every game, every year. You’re going to go through these low periods, so Matt has just got to handle that.
"I’m sure he’s good enough to do the job."
Renshaw impressed in his maiden Test campaign last summer, scoring a century against Pakistan in Sydney and forming a strong opening partnership with vice-captain David Warner.
He defied tough batting conditions to post a pair of half-centuries at the start of the recent Test tour of India, but nine Test innings without a fifty combined with his slow start to the Shield season has increased pressure on his spot.
And Waugh says how the 21-year-old responds to the speculation will say a lot about his character.
"At the end of the day you’re playing for Australia and I don’t think there’s any cricketer who hasn’t been under pressure at some stage," Waugh said at the launch of Triple M's Ashes coverage in Sydney.
"Personally, I got dropped after eight or nine Tests. I’m not saying at all that’s going to happen to Matt Renshaw, but it’s just part of being a top-level cricketer.
"If you're a batsman and you don’t score runs, then people are going to talk about it. If you’re a bowler and you don’t take wickets, people talk about that as well.
"That's just the nature of the game and it’s how you handle it (that's important)."
Renshaw's run of low scores has come while highly-rated WA opener Cameron Bancroft has pushed his case for a Test debut with an impressive showing against a Test-quality NSW side in Sydney last week and a monster century against South Australia on Monday.
Bancroft carried his bat for 76 in WA's first innings and added 86 in the second dig while he also impressed with the wicketkeeping gloves in the absence of injured Warriors keeper Josh Inglis.
And he continued his red-hot form on Monday, posting an unbeaten 151 on the opening day of the clash with South Australia.
Waugh watched Bancroft's performance up close at Hurtsville Oval and praised the 24-year-old's resilience, while his state coach Justin Langer said the right-hander is ready for the top level should Renshaw's lean trot continue.
"In any team ... what is absolutely critical for success is the opening partnership and the top three," Langer said told the BBC, before Bancroft's knock against SA.
"Matt Renshaw, I think he is under some pressure honestly ... he hasn’t started the season particularly well.
"What (Bancroft's performances against NSW) tells me is he’s got an incredible temperament (and) he’s got elite fitness.
"He is the heartbeat of West Australian cricket because no one in the world works harder, no one in the world wants to be playing cricket or international cricket like he does."
2017-18 International Fixtures:
Magellan Ashes Series
First Test Gabba, November 23-27. Buy tickets
Second Test Adelaide Oval, December 2-6 (Day-Night). Buy tickets
Third Test WACA Ground, December 14-18. Buy tickets
Fourth Test MCG, December 26-30. Buy tickets
Fifth Test SCG, January 4-8 (Pink Test). Buy tickets
Gillette ODI Series v England
First ODI MCG, January 14. Buy tickets
Second ODI Gabba, January 19. Buy tickets
Third ODI SCG, January 21. Buy tickets
Fourth ODI Adelaide Oval, January 26. Buy tickets
Fifth ODI Perth TBC, January 28. Join the ACF
Prime Minister's XI
PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Buy tickets
Gillette T20 INTL Series
First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Buy tickets
Second T20I – Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Buy tickets
Third T20I – Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Buy tickets
Fourth T20I – NZ v England, Wellington, February 13
Fifth T20I – NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I – NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final – TBC, Eden Park, February 21