David Warner makes huge call on Test cricket future after return from India
The opener is bullish about his hopes of making the Ashes squad later this year.
David Warner has vowed to fight for his spot ahead of this year's Ashes after a poor run of form stretching back 18 months in Test cricket. Warner was sent home from India after suffering a fractured elbow in the first innings of the second Test match in Delhi.
And while injury forced him out of the squad, the stark reality is the 35-year-old opener may have played his final Test for Australia. Warner is averaging 45.47 from 103 Tests, hitting 25 centuries - the eighth most by an Australian.
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However, his form in the last three years - especially on tour - has seen growing pressure for him to be dropped at the top of the order. And his numbers don't make for pretty reading. Warner scored 15 runs in his last innings in Delhi after struggling to get off the mark for nearly 30 minutes.
Scores of 10 and one in Nagpur has seen Warner's average drop to 21.78 in India across his career. Other than his double century at the MCG last year, Warner's most recent scores read 15, 10, 1, 10, 3, 0, 28, 21, 48, 5, 24, 5, 10* and 25.
To make matters worse, Warner's average in England isn't too far off his Indian record. Warner averages only 26.04 from 25 innings when facing the Duke ball. Stuart Broad has dismissed the left-hander the most of any bowler in Test cricket.
Broad and James Anderson - who recently returned to the top of the Test bowling world rankings - are expected to play against Australia later this year. Despite Warner's troubles and recent form, the opener isn't giving up hope that he can return in the baggy green for one final Ashes tour.
"I've always said I'm playing to 2024; if the selectors feel that I'm not worthy of my spot, then so be it, and I can push on to the white-ball stuff," Warner told reporters at Sydney Airport. "I've got the next 12 months, a lot of cricket's ahead for the team and if I can keep scoring runs and putting my best foot forward for the team and I can help my spot, it'd be great for the team.
"It's easy pickings (for critics) when you're 36 going on 37. I've seen it before with the ex-players as well.
"So for me if I'm taking pressure off the rest of the other guys, and no one's worrying about the rest of the team, I'm happy to do that."
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While Warner was bullish over his plan to make the Ashes squad, selector Tony Dodemaide wasn't weighing-in on the future team while Australia trail India 2-0. "We're worried about what we can get out of these remaining two Tests (in India), obviously that's a clear focus for us at the moment," Dodemaide said on Wednesday.
"We'll address the Ashes planning (at a later time), but we are committed to picking the best fit and available players for Test series, particularly something as big as the Ashes. That's not a question that we've addressed so far. We are very keen, as everyone I'm sure at home would be, for us to get something out of this remaining series."
One of the factors Warner has on his side is the lack of openers knocking down the door to replace him. Travis Head opened the batting in his spot after Warner was ruled out with concussion and he top scored for the Aussies. And coach Andrew McDonald was complimentary of Head's performance after he was sensationally dropped in the first Test match.
"If Dave's unavailable it would make perfect sense," McDonald said on Monday of opening with Head. "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."
While Warner won't play any further part in the Test series, he will return after final match to take part in the one-day international series. Warner (elbow) and Ashton Agar (form) will return in March after flying home this week. After the first clash in Mumbai, Australia will face India in Vizag (March 19) and Chennai (March 22).
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