Aussie cricket great Mitchell Johnson has added to calls for David Warner to be dropped for the second Test against India, bemoaning the fact that Travis Head was left out in Nagpur. Head was controversially dropped for the first Test, despite being the No.4 ranked batter in world cricket, as Australia were humiliated by an innings and 132 runs.
According to reports, Warner's place in the side is under extreme doubt heading into the second Test in Delhi. Australian selectors are said to be weighing up the possibility of bringing Head back at the top of the order to partner Usman Khawaja and dropping Warner.
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The 36-year-old Warner has averaged just over 22 in his career in India, with his struggles continuing in Nagpur. He made just 1 and 10 as every Aussie batter except Steve Smith struggled with the spin of Ravi Ashwin and Ravi Jadeja.
In a column for the West Australian on Monday, Johnson said it's time for selectors to make a brutal call on Warner. “I would drop David Warner, elevate Matthew Renshaw to open and bring Travis Head into the middle order,” Johnson wrote.
Johnson said Warner should have been left out of the first Test rather than Head, despite the latter's career average of 21 in Asia. “If it’s about a horses for courses policy based on previous form in the subcontinent, why didn’t that apply to Warner?”, Johnson asked. “That’s where it got murky for me.”
Warner also struggled mightily during the Aussie summer, outside of his brilliant 200 against South Africa at the MCG. The double century broke a near two-year drought in which Warner had failed to make triple figures.
Mark Taylor backs David Warner for second Test
Over the last two years he's averaging just 17.8 across 22 innings. However former Australia captain Mark Taylor believes he deserves at least one more chance.
"David’s been around long enough, and I know he’s had plenty of opportunities. I think you’ve got to give him at least the next Test match to get it right,” Taylor told Wide World of Sports.
“As Warner and Usman Khawaja found out, they bat at the top of the order and faced Ravi Ashwin with the new ball, and then four overs later got Ravi Jadeja. So it doesn’t really matter where you bat, you’re going to face the same stuff. So I would be sticking with the top two at the moment.”
Speaking on Sunday, Aussie coach Andrew McDonald went in to bat for Warner and denied reports he was facing the axe. “We haven’t discussed that at all,” McDonald said about Head potentially replacing Warner as an opener. “It’s a sample size of one game, in Nagpur”.
“We’ll discuss the performance of the first Test match. We haven’t even got into a selection discussion. The benefit out of losing the game so quickly is we’ve got a little bit more think time to work through what scenarios are for us and that starts today."
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