THE ASHES, 2023
Australia head coach has reiterated that Warner remained very much central in the team’s scheme to retain the urn. © Getty
Australia head coach Andrew McDonald has insisted that David Warner remains in his plans for the forthcoming Ashes series. The 36-year-old has endured a lean run in the longest format of the game, recording just one 50-plus score in his last 15 visits to the crease, which incidentally was a double century at the last Boxing Day Test against South Africa.
He was picked in the squads for both the one-off World Test Championship final as well as the Ashes series against England that follows but chief selector George Bailey was non-committal on the veteran’s first-choice status in the latter of the two assignments in the UK given it is the start of a new cycle for the team. Bailey and team did pick Marcus Harris as a reserve opener with Matt Renshaw another contender to join Usman Khawaja at the top of the order.
McDonald though has opted to play down those alternatives for the time being, reiterating that Warner remained very much central in the team’s scheme to retain the urn. “We’re optimistic with what Dave’s got left, we picked him in the squad and we feel he’s going to play a really significant part in the Ashes and the World Test Championship final,” the head coach told SEN on Wednesday (May 24).
“He’s an important part of that squad. And if he wasn’t, then we would have had a clear checkpoint (to pick a new squad) after the World Test Championship. That’s not the case… He’s clearly in our plans, and he’s ready to go. We’re in constant contact with him. He knows exactly where he sits with us. That’s why he’s on the plane. We think he’s got some good games left in him.”
Part of the reasons for the question marks over Warner was his record in the last Ashes when he repeatedly fell to Stuart Broad’s around-the-wicket angle. McDonald pointed at the 2015 series in the UK when the opener passed 50 in each of the five Tests to reinstate his ability against the moving Duke’s ball.
“You can draw on some positive experiences in England in 2015… he was averaging mid-40s [46.44]. He’s had success there. It’s not as though he hasn’t had success in those conditions,” said McDonald. “So we’re backing him to draw on everything that he’s got.
“Leading into the Boxing Day Test, the doomsday people were out there then as well. He’s still got plenty to draw upon. We saw early in the IPL a trend up in terms of his form there – he started slow, the doubters were out again around his game, and then he was able to rebound and respond.
“He’s in a good head space. I spoke to him as recently as yesterday, and he’s ready to go. He’s really excited to get back into the camp.”