Australian coach Andrew McDonald has confirmed that David Warner will need to fly back from Dubai as he is required for next month's T20 series against the West Indies. The Aussie opener retired from red-ball cricket after the SCG Test, and also called it quits in the ODI format but announced he will continue his T20 career as he eyes up the T20 World Cup which kicks off in June.
Warner will feature in the upcoming three-match T20 series against the West Indies at home and then will head to New Zealand to play the Black Caps in a best-of-three series as the side ramps up its preparations for the T20 World Cup, hosted by the USA and West Indies. Warner is currently in Dubai playing for the Dubai Capitals in the ILT20.
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The Capitals are owned by Warner's IPL franchise, the Delhi Capitals, and while it was initially thought he may see out the tournament and skip the T20 series against the West Indies, McDonald told the opener he must return home. "Davey will be picked, he'll come back from the ILT20 (in the UAE)," the coach said on Saturday. "I think most of our players that are going over there are due back on the 7th (of February) in preparation for the T20 in Hobart so Davey will be a part of those plans."
The T20 series against the West Indies will kick off on February 9, three days after Australia finishes its ODI series, and the Australian coach revealed there will likely be some squad rotation as a result. "No it'll be a different squad, we'll look to be at full strength for the New Zealand series, we've got six games before the World Cup, a lot of the World Cup planning is in place at the moment ... the West Indies series will be slightly nuanced," he said.
Steve Smith's opening performance no concern for Andrew McDonald
At the beginning of the summer, many believed Marcus Harris, Cameron Bancroft and Matt Renshaw were the three fighting for the spot at the top of the order after Warner retired at the end of the Pakistan series. But instead, selectors moved Steve Smith up the order to partner Usman Khawaja so Cameron Green could slot back into the side at No.4.
Things didn't go the way selectors hoped in the opening Test despite Australia going on to win comfortably, as Smith scored 12 and 11 not out and Green only managed 14. Despite the underperformance in the first Test, McDonald said he's "comfortable" with the decision.
"With a sample size of one it's always difficult to judge," he said. "We're comfortable with where it's all landed. We feel as though that top six and the way they complement each other gives us the best opportunity to maximise (their strengths).
"We're very comfortable with 'Smudge' (Smith) at the top of the order, and seeing Cameron Green back out there in the field with ball and bat in hand was great. We're optimistic they'll work, and I suppose hindsight will tell us everything."
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