Pat Cummins says fans will 'have to wait and see' with regards to David Warner's place in the Test team, but the Aussie skipper maintains the 36-year-old has something to offer. Warner's position as Test opener has been up in the air after missing the final two Tests of the series in India through injury.
After a difficult summer at home, highlighted only by a double-century in his 100th Test, Warner's long-secure place in Australia's top order has come under significant scrutiny. His poor form both at home and in India, combined with his poor showing against England in the last Ashes series to be played overseas, has lead to significant doubts about his ability to compete at Test level.
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Warner returned to India for Australia's victory in the subsequent ODI series, but he remains no certainty to rejoin the team for the upcoming World Test Championship final in England. Australia will face India once again, with the championship final looming as a crucial opportunity for Warner with the Ashes series to follow soon afterwards.
With just one score beyond 50 from his past 15 Test innings, Warner has his work cut out for him convincing selectors he can offer something to the side. Cummins told Fox Sports that it would be imperative for him to put pressure back on the opening bowlers, rather than simply try to absorb it.
“The bowlers can get on top over in England with the new ball. It seams around; it can be tough for opening batters,” Cummins said. “But openers who can put pressure back on the bowlers, they’re priceless.
"I know as a bowler, if someone’s a sitting duck, you feel like you’re going to get them eventually. If someone’s kind of taking the game to you, it presents a different challenge.
"That’s been the hallmark of Davey’s career. Over there in England, that’s what you’d want out of him, putting that pressure back on the bowlers.”
David Warner determined to play on despite Test uncertainty
Despite the pressure, and particularly the opportunity to walk away from the game on a high-not following his Boxing Day Test double century, Warner remains determined to play on. His wife, Candice Warner, said there was still a 'burning desire' in him.
"David still has a burning desire to open the batting for Australia. There's still a lot of things that he wants to achieve that he hasn't achieved," she told Yahoo Sport Australia.
"And clearly one of those would be to perform at the best he possibly can in England against the Dukes ball. Whether the selectors and the coach allows him that, I don't know. But I do know he still has that desire and that hunger to continue.
"He'd love to go out on his terms but you're not always afforded that opportunity and David fully realises that. He could have easily retired after the Sydney Test this year, but that's not what he wants. He still wanted to contribute to the team in India and still be there at the Ashes and then we'll just see."
Warner returned to the Australian side for the third ODI against India, but didn't open the batting - making a middle-order appearance for the first time in his 14-year career. It marked just the second time Warner hasn't opened the batting in his 142-game career for Australia, with the last time coming against Scotland in the 2015 World Cup. He only managed 23 runs off 31 balls before he was dismissed by Kuldeep Yadav.
Cricket is still such a big part of Warner's life and his future plans that the family hasn’t a set plan for life after the game. "Even if he was to retire from playing international cricket for Australia, you'll see David playing cricket for a few more years to come," Candice predicted.
"There are so many (T20 franchises) around the world, whether it be the IPL, the Dubai League, the BBL, America, South Africa, Pakistan. There's also his role with Fox Sports which he's excited about and wants to develop. We'll just have to wait and see but at this stage he's fully committed to playing cricket for Australia."
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