Big David Warner clue in Aussie selection as truth emerges over Test successor

The veteran batter's place in Australia's Test team has been the subject of intense debate.

Seen here, Aussie cricket star David Warner.
David Warner has been selected in Australia's squad for the first Test against Pakistan. Pic: Getty

David Warner's hopes for a dream Test cricket farewell in Sydney have been given a massive boost after the veteran opener was named in Australia's squad for the first Test against Pakistan in Perth. The Aussies will kick off their three-Test series against Pakistan on December 14 at Perth's Optus Stadium, with selectors opting for largely the same squad that retained the Ashes after drawing the series 2-2 against England.

Veteran off-spinner Nathan Lyon is set to play his first Test for the Aussies since tearing his calf in the second Ashes match at Lord's. Fellow spinner Todd Murphy is the unlucky man to make way for Lyon, while exciting West Australian quick Lance Morris has been recalled to the 14-man squad after returning from injury.

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Most of the discussion before Sunday's squad announcement has centred around Warner's place in the squad and his plan to retire from Test cricket in front of his home crowd at the SCG in the third Test against Pakistan. Former teammate Mitchell Johnson insisted Warner had not earned the right to bow out on his own terms due to his underwhelming form and role in the ball-tampering scandal.

Australia's captain and coach both said last week that Warner was no certainty to get his dream SCG farewell, but Sunday's announcement means it's looking increasingly likely that he will. Warner will start the summer opening with Usman Khawaja despite having scored just one Test century since January 2020, a memorable 200 against South Africa in last year's Boxing Day match. Warner averages just 28 in Test cricket since the 2019-20 summer.

Seen here, David Warner comes out to bat for Australia during the 2023 Ashes series in England.
David Warner comes out to bat for Australia during the 2023 Ashes series in England. Pic: Getty

Even if Warner's form is shaky in Perth and Melbourne, selectors are unlikely to make a change unless Australia face an unlikely challenge from a Pakistan team engulfed by ongoing dysfunction at board level and within their administration. Chairman of selectors George Bailey told reporters on Sunday that Warner and the rest of the Aussie squad that won this year's World Test Championship final and retained the Ashes, had "earnt the opportunity" to get first crack this summer.

"This group, led by Pat Cummins, has built a strong resume over an extended period," Bailey said. "We believe they have earnt the opportunity to start in our first home Test match at the beginning of the new World Test Championship cycle.

"Thirteen members of the squad were part of the victorious World Test Championship and successful Ashes tours over the winter and Lance Morris has been recalled after recovering from his back injury over the same period. As ever, there will be opportunities in the short to medium term to break into this squad and we look forward to seeing the continued strong performances from players who have been performing domestically, many of whom will get a tremendous opportunity in the PM's XI fixture against Pakistan later this week."

Pictured left to right is Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw.
Cameron Bancroft, Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw are all vying to take David Warner's opening spot when he retires from Test cricket. Pic: Getty

That PM's XI match shapes as a good old fashioned bat-off between three players to earn the right to replace Warner at the top of the order when he retires from Test cricket. Cameron Bancroft, Matthew Renshaw and Marcus Harris are the three candidates vying for Warner's opening spot, with Aussie great Ricky Ponting recently anointing Sheffield Shield run-machine Bancroft as the favourite.

Allrounder Cameron Green is another man featuring in the PM's XI match that will be desperate to impress selectors, despite his inclusion in the 14-man Test squad. Green lost his place to Mitch Marsh during the Ashes series and his fellow allrounder took the opportunity with both hands after notching a stunning century in the third Test.

Morris will be hoping to score his first Test cap during the three-match series against Pakistan after returning from a back stress injury that ruled him out of the Ashes. The WA tearaway is capable of bowling at speeds of around 150kph and has taken 11 wickets at 25.54 in his three Sheffield Shield games for the West Australians since returning from injury.

Australia squad for first Test: David Warner, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Steve Smith, Travis Head, Mitch Marsh, Alex Carey, Pat Cummins (capt), Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon, Josh Hazlewood, Scott Boland, Cameron Green, Lance Morris.

with AAP

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