‘Backing him to draw on everything he’s got’: Warner firms in Ashes plans
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Australia’s head coach Andrew McDonald has firmly endorsed David Warner’s position for at least the start of the Ashes series, after several months of equivocation by the national selectors around the opener’s future.
Warner concluded the IPL with a flurry of fast scoring for Delhi Capitals, cuffing 186 runs from 116 balls to demonstrate the sort of attacking intent that captain Pat Cummins and the selectors require of him.
David Warner holds the Mullagh Medal after being awarded player of the match at the MCG.Credit: Getty
Between those innings and a valedictorian double century against South Africa in his 100th Test at the MCG last December, 36-year-old Warner has evidently shown enough to McDonald and fellow selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide that he can perform across the England tour.
“We’re optimistic with what Dave’s got left, we’ve picked him in the squad and we feel he’ll play a really big part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship,” McDonald told SEN on Wednesday.
“He’s an important part of that squad, and if he wasn’t, we would’ve had a clear checkpoint after the WTC going into the Ashes. That’s not the case, we’ve picked our squad for the first two Ashes Tests as well, so he’s clearly in our plans and ready to go.
“He knows exactly where he sits with us. It’s not as though he hasn’t had success in those conditions, so we’re backing him to draw on everything he’s got.”
The comments contrasted with those of McDonald himself and also Bailey during and after the Test tour of India, where Warner struggled against Mohammad Shami and Mohammad Siraj before going home early with a fractured arm.
Until now, the selectors had pointedly stopped short of mentioning Warner in connection with the Ashes, stating only that he had earned his spot for the World Test Championship final against India due to contributions over the past two years.
“Not specifically to Dave, but I think we’ll just get through that Test championship,” Bailey had previously said. “We’ll be obviously planning behind the scenes, but we’ll have a look at what that looks like as we get there.
“Different opposition and different surface in terms of going from the Oval to start the Ashes. So we’ll work through that. We’ll wait and see what the conditions hold when we get there.”
Stuart Broad dismisses David Warner in the first innings at Old Trafford in 2019.Credit: Getty Images
Warner was something like a sitting duck for Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer during the 2019 Ashes series, where the seaming Dukes ball saw him repeatedly beaten in defence.
Since then, Warner has reasoned that he should have taken a more proactive mindset into that series: though he has not made a Test hundred in England, he returned respectable tallies when selected on the 2013 and 2015 tours.
Speaking in England overnight at a sponsor’s event, Broad said he and Warner had shared a glass of wine after the 2021-22 Ashes and wondered if their battle would be rejoined this year.
“I’m really looking forward to stepping on the field against him,” Broad said. “I must admit, at the end of Hobart last time, we shared a glass of red and didn’t know if we would play against each other again.
“We’ve had incredible battles. I’m trying to think of when I’d have first bowled to him – 2013, I think. He had the better of me for quite a long period, he got a hundred at Brisbane and the WACA. Ultimately, the biggest praise I can give Davey is the fact I had to completely study him and change my style of bowling because of the success he had against me.”
Broad noted that the late-season pitches in 2019 had offered plenty of grip for the seam over a series contested in August and September, whereas this summer’s bout would be played in June and July.
“I bowled particularly well against him in conditions that suited me but that will be very different this year,” Broad said. “The 2019 wickets were tired from the World Cup. They were dry, so the new ball seamed off the dryness. It was not so much swing, but wobble-seam.
“Now we’re playing in June and July, you expect the pitches not to have that tiredness. It may be a slightly different style of bowling on them. I’ve got to adjust my length and change. The fact is you can’t bowl width to David Warner, so my line won’t be changing.”
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