David Warner joins Josh Hazlewood in flying home early from India tour
The opening batter suffered a concussion and fractured elbow in the second Test.
David Warner has joined Josh Hazlewood in flying home early from India after the Aussie opener was ruled out for the remainder of the tour. The Aussies lost the series after their second innings capitulation in Delhi, and coach Andrew McDonald admits it will play a part in deciding the make-up of the side for the final two Tests.
There had already been question marks over Warner's place at the top of the order before the series started and he's done little to dispel them in three disappointing innings in the subcontinent. Following scores of one and 10 in the Border-Gavaskar series opener, Warner fell for 15 in the first innings in Delhi, before being ruled out of the remainder of the Test with concussion.
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The left-hander will fly back to Sydney on Wednesday and miss the final two Tests in Indore and Ahmedabad. Australia are unlikely to call in a replacement player, with all-rounder Cameron Green set to return from a finger injury to bat at No.6 in the third Test, and Travis Head to stay at the top of the order.
It was later revealed Warner batted with a fractured elbow after copping a nasty delivery off the bowling of India quick Mohammed Siraj. Apart from a double century in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at the MCG, Warner's most recent scores of 15, 10, 1, 10, 3, 0, 28, 21, 48, 5, 24, and 5, 10* and 25 don't make for pretty reading.
Compounding the form issues for Warner is the fact Head deputised admirably for the veteran at opener in Australia's second innings in Delhi, before his dismissal for 43 runs sparked a monumental Aussie collapse. The stark reality for Warner is that Head made more in one innings batting at the top for Australia, than Warner has in three knocks this series (26).
"If Dave's unavailable it would make perfect sense," McDonald said of Head opening. "We did discuss before coming over here, that if we were to lose an opening batter that Trav would be one we'd look to put up there.
"We feel in the subcontinental conditions that he can get off to the fast starts which he showed." McDonald has already flagged the possibility of sending more players home from India as they look to downsize their squad ahead of the final two Tests.
Captain Pat Cummins flew home after Australia's six-wicket loss in Delhi because of a serious family illness, but is expected to return for the third Test in Indore, starting on March 1. He's also been followed home by fellow quick Josh Hazlewood, who's flown back to Sydney after battling to overcome a persistent achilles injury.
Hazlewood missed the first two Tests with the injury, but had hoped to be able to recover in time to take part in the series. However, Australia have now accepted their fast bowler will not recover before the end of the series, making him the latest player to depart the tour.
Josh #Hazlewood is being sent home and won’t take part in the series due to a nagging achilles injury that he hasn’t recovered from since the #Sydney Test. #Warner could be sent home to maximise his recovery from a fractured elbow. @plalor #INDvAUS pic.twitter.com/kFik6PAskm
— Robert Smith (@OnyaDon) February 20, 2023
The Australian cricket team is facing a mass-exodus after being crushed by India, with Josh Hazlewood and skipper Pat Cummins flying home mid-series, and David Warner expected to follow them. @samdjodan #9News pic.twitter.com/l0yHM8V7pz
— 9News Australia (@9NewsAUS) February 20, 2023
Pat Cummins gone. Josh Hazlewood ruled out. No David Warner already. What are we expecting out of this Australia!? 😭#INDvAUS #INDvsAUS #AUSvIND #AUSvsIND
— Sharon Solomon (@BSharan_6) February 20, 2023
"Josh Hazlewood has been ruled out of the entire series with an Achillies complaint."
Oh Terrible!! I was hoping to see Cummins, Starc and #Hazlewood at Indore. Even #Warner is doubtful. Tells me these guys didn't take #BGT2023 seriously. https://t.co/1Qw6mkZvJB
— Chandan (@Chandan3) February 20, 2023
Aussies consider trimming down Test squad
Bowling all-rounder Ashton Agar and out-of-form batter Matt Renshaw (who fell for two runs after coming in as Warner's concussion sub in Delhi) will possibly leave the Australian camp if the hierarchy decide they are definitively not in their plans for the third and fourth Tests. However, McDonald stressed that if any more players do return home, it will not be due to any lack of form.
"We're working through that so it won't be form as such but there's cricket going on back home," the Australia coach said. "With a few players now becoming fit and available, are we carrying too many?
"We've got to be clear on what we want to achieve in the next two Test matches in terms of the structure of the team.
"There's an opportunity for players to be playing cricket back home and we value that. It won't be form related, it'd be more we want our players playing where they can be and not just being carried around in kit bags, in particular when there's cricket going on back home."
Australia will make an announcement about any further squad changes on Wednesday. Pace bowler Lance Morris is another player Australia might consider sending back home for some fine-tuning in the Sheffield Shield, with veteran quick Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Green returning to fitness and pushing for a recall to the starting XI for Australia.
McDonald declared Green 100 percent fit for the third Test and said that Starc was also in line to play. Both have been recovering from serious finger injuries and Green was close to being available for the Delhi Test.
Australia have more than a week before the third Test gets underway as they attempt to figure out how a tour that started with so much promise, quicky descended into a debacle. Australia's hopes of securing the Border-Gavaskar trophy went up in flames during a chaotic 90 minutes of batting in Delhi on Sunday, where they 9-48 to all but hand the match - and the series - to India.
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