A decision regarding David Warner's future in Test cricket would be better made sooner rather than later, former Australian skipper Mark Taylor says. Already slated to miss the third Test against India due to a concussion sustained in the second Test, Warner's position in the side has been called into question after struggling through three innings on tour thus far.
Warner was already on delicate ground heading into the India series, having registered only one innings of note during an otherwise successful home summer for Australia against the visiting West Indies and South Africa. A sensational double-century in the Boxing Day Test, Warner's 100th for Australia, had been the lone high point for Warner amid an otherwise underwhelming couple of series.
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The first two Tests have done nothing for Warner's already suspect batting average in India, which now sits at 21.78 through 10 matches. Scores of just one, 10 and 15 in his first three innings could potentially have been reason enough for selectors to consider moving on from the veteran opener, particularly given dramatic batting collapses have ruined Australia's chances in both Tests.
With an Ashes tour in England on the horizon, Taylor said it was time for selectors to make a bold decision one way or another - declare their confidence in Warner on potentially more favourable pitches in England, or opt to move on from him now in order to help shore up the top of the batting order before the Ashes begin.
"Is it time to start thinking about the future? You don't normally do it around Ashes time, normally you would do it post-Ashes," Taylor said when discussing Australia's hopes on Channel 9's Sport Sunday.
"Normally you take a very settled side to England, with maybe one batter you think is going to be your future, and that's the side you pick. We're not quite there at the moment and they're not sure which way they are going to go. "
Warner's opening partner Usman Khawaja has enjoyed a comparatively stellar start to 2023, meaning the 36-year-old veteran's place at the top of the order is the most vulnerable with the likes of Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne to follow unlikely to shift in the order, and certainly not out of the side.
David Warner's Test future in hands of selectors as Ashes loom large
Travis Head, dropped for the first Test in India but successfully recalled for the second remains assured of a place thanks to his team-best performance at home, while the likes of Matthew Renshaw and Peter Handscombe have both enjoyed Test recalls this summer.
Taylor said it was clear Warner had the desire to play on - meaning the ball was entirely in the court of Australian selectors. "Dave has come out and said he wants to be around until 2024, so he wants to go to England later this year, he wants to play in Australia next summer," Taylor said.
"So he has really thrown the ball over to (selectors) George Bailey, Tony Dodemaide, (and captain) Pat Cummins, the selectors to say 'OK what do you want to do?'. To me, the selectors have got to make a decision.
"Whether they take David Warner and one of probably Bancroft or Renshaw to England, and Dave would be the first opener picked. Or they make a decision now and say righto, we're going to take the two younger guys... we're going to make a change right now.
"That's the decision they've got to make. Dave has said, 'OK, over to you, I am available, I want to play'. "
With Warner ruled out for the remainder of the series in India, selectors will have two matches to experiment with a potential replacement for Warner before coming to a final decision prior to the Ashes in June.
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