Australia coach backs Warner to play ‘significant part’ in Ashes

Published May 25, 2023
Australia’s David Warner watches a bouncer pass over during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Australia and England at the MCG in Melbourne on November 22, 2022. — AFP/File
Australia’s David Warner watches a bouncer pass over during the third one-day international (ODI) cricket match between Australia and England at the MCG in Melbourne on November 22, 2022. — AFP/File

SYDNEY: Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald on Wednesday backed under-pressure David Warner to play “a really significant part” in the Ashes starting next month in England.

The 36-year-old opening batsman has been a mainstay of the Australian team since making his debut against New Zealand in 2011.

But the left-hander approaches the Ashes and World Test Championship final against India at The Oval with one century in his past 32 innings and a mediocre record in England.

“We’re optimistic with what Dave’s got left,” McDon­ald told SEN radio on Wednesday, addressing doubts about Warner’s immediate future on the side. “We’ve picked him in the squad and we feel that he’s going to play a really significant part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship final, and that’s why he’s on the plane. We think he’s got some good games left in him.”

While Warner made Australia’s 17-man squad for the first two Ashes Tests and the preceding WTC final, selectors have kept their options open beyond that.

McDonald said that Warner was in “a good head space”. “He’s an important part of that squad,” McDonald said. “If he wasn’t, then we would have had a clear checkpoint after the first Test match or the World Test Championship going into the Ashes, but that’s not the case. He’s clearly in our plans and he’s ready to go, and we’re in constant contact with him.”

War­ner missed much of this year’s blockbuster tour of India with a fractured elbow, which came on the back of an extended lean spell with the bat. He has previously hinted at retirement from Test cricket this year to focus on the game’s shorter formats. The WTC final starts on June 7 and the first Ashes Test is from June 16.

Published in Dawn, May 25th, 2023

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