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David Warner has brushed aside concerns about his batting following his premature exit from the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, declaring he’s still the right person to open the batting for Australia at the Ashes.
The 36-year-old touched down in Sydney alongside his wife and three daughters on Thursday, returning home to continue his rehabilitation after suffering a fractured elbow during last week’s Delhi Test against India.
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Speculation about Warner’s future in the Test side has grown in volume after a string of low scores in Australian whites – the veteran opener has reached fifty just once in his 15 most recent Test knocks.
Warner silenced retirement rumours with a career-defining 200 against South Africa during the recent Boxing Day Test; but after registering scores of 1, 10 and 15 in India, that epic knock appears to have been more of an anomaly rather than a long-awaited return to form.
Speaking to reporters at Sydney Airport, Warner declared he was “100 per cent” ready to reclaim his place at the top of the order in England this winter, accepting his fate if national selectors looked elsewhere.
“I’ve always said I’m playing to 2024; if the selectors feel that I’m not worthy of my spot, then so be it, and I can push on to the white-ball stuff,” Warner said.
“I’ve got the next 12 months, a lot of cricket’s ahead for the team and if I can keep scoring runs and putting my best foot forward for the team and I can help my spot, it’d be great for the team.
“It’s easy pickings when you’re 36 going on 37 … I’ve seen it before with the ex-players as well.
“So for me if I’m taking pressure off the rest of the other guys, and no one’s worrying about the rest of the team, I’m happy to do that.”
Asked how he intended to get out of his current rut with the bat, Warner quipped: “I scored 200 a couple of weeks ago, so I’m not in a rut.”
Warner’s recent struggles in England are well-documented – he averaged 9.50 during the 2019 Ashes series, with Stuart Broad tormenting him from around the wicket. However, the New South Welshman registered five half-centuries during his previous Test tour of England, becoming just the fourth Australian opener to achieve the feat.
But Warner’s lack of runs away from the comforts of home soil remains cause for concern – he has not scored an away Test century in nearly six years, averaging 16.85 with the bat outside of Australia since his 12-month suspension.
Speaking to reporters in Delhi on Wednesday, national selector Tony Dodemaide awkwardly sidestepped questions on whether Warner was still in Australia’s plans for the upcoming Ashes series.
“We’re worried about what we can get out of these remaining two Tests, obviously that’s a clear focus for us at the moment,” Dodemaide said.
“We’ll address the Ashes planning (at a later time), but we are committed to picking the best fit and available players for Test series, particularly something as big as the Ashes.
“That’s not a question that we’ve addressed so far.
“We are very keen, as everyone I’m sure at home would be, for us to get something out of this remaining series.
“We can still draw the series here, but it’s a tough ask in order to do that, there’s no doubt about that.
“Also for the World Test Championship, we’re desperate to get a result out of these last two games.”
On Thursday, Warner was named in a 16-player squad for next month’s ODI tour of India, which gets underway in Mumbai on March 17.
The left-hander remains an integral part of Australia’s white-ball side ahead of this year’s World Cup in India and next year’s T20 World Cup in the United States and the West Indies.