Warner to play 'significant' Ashes role: McDonald

·2-min read

Australia coach Andrew McDonald has talked up David Warner's spot for the start of the Ashes following months of speculation about the veteran opener's future.

The 36-year-old Warner endured a rough time in India earlier this year, struggling during the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series before returning to Australia with a fractured elbow.

Warner's Test form had already dipped, with his spectacular Boxing Day double century against South Africa his only ton since January 2020.

McDonald and selectors George Bailey and Tony Dodemaide were hesitant to lock-in Warner after India.

But leaving mid-tour, with Travis Head filling in admirably but viewed by coaches as an Asia-only opener, might have saved the dashing left-hander.

"We're optimistic with what Dave's got left," McDonald told SEN.

"We've picked him in the squad, and we feel that he's going to play a really significant part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship final. That's why he's on the plane.

"We think he's got some good games left in him.

"He's clearly in our plans. He's ready to go and we're in constant contact with him.

"He knows exactly where he sits with us, and internally we're really settled around what we need to do and how we're going to go about it."

Warner will face up to India in the World Test Championship final, before potentially facing his old nemesis Stuart Broad in the opening two Tests of the Ashes.

In 2019's Ashes in England, Warner averaged just 9.50 across the five-Test series as he was found wanting in the seaming and swinging conditions.

"He can draw on some positive experiences in England," McDonald said.

"In 2015, I think it was eight half-centuries and he averaged mid-40s.

"So, he's had success there. It's not as though he hasn't had success in those conditions.

"We're backing him to draw on everything that he's got. Leading into the Boxing Day Test the doomsday people were out there as well."

Broad, 36, spoke on Wednesday about relishing the opportunity to renew hostilities with Warner.

"He's been a great competitor, someone I've really enjoyed playing against," Broad told the Press Association.

"He's fiery, ferociously competitive, and those sorts of characters bring out the best in me as well."