Former Australia captain Mark Taylor has backed David Warner to play in the ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against India at The Oval in June and to also feature in the initial stage of the Ashes 2023 in England. Warner has gone through a lean patch in Test cricket since the start of 2021, averaging below 39 and his returns have been ordinary especially in the last two years.
Despite scoring a double century (200) in the Melbourne Test in December 2022 against South Africa – his only Test hundred since January 2020 – Warner averaged 30.05 in 11 games last year. In the three Test matches that he played this year, Warner has managed a mere 36 runs at 9.00.
Warner, 36, has in the past spoken about retiring from Test cricket in order to push on in the shorter formats, and his participation was considered doubtful for the next red-ball assignments for Australia, especially after his horrendous run in India with the bat.
However, former Australia captain and commentator Taylor has backed Warner to make the cut in the squad for the WTC final and the Ashes.
Taylor told AAP on Tuesday, “If I am reading the tea leaves right, it sounds like they will stick with David for the World Test Championship (final) at The Oval. And if that’s the way Australia are thinking about the World Test Championship, then yes, they have to start with him for the Ashes.” But despite his recent struggles in red-ball cricket, Warner has delivered in a forgettable campaign for Delhi Capitals in the ongoing Indian Premier League, scoring three half-centuries to make 228 runs in five matches at 45.60.
Taylor, who led Australia in 26 wins, 13 losses and 11 draws as captain in 50 Tests, added that he would like to see right-handed opener Cameron Bancroft in the team.
“It would be very hard to have Usman Khawaja and Warner open the batting and then change a week later for the first Test at Edgbaston. My old way of thinking, I always like a right and left-hander combination. So I would love to see Cameron Bancroft get another opportunity at the top of the order,” Taylor said.
“I see (Matt) Renshaw has been making runs in New Zealand (for Australia A), but Bancroft has made a heap of runs in the Australian summer,” Taylor added.
Taylor also highlighted that due to his ordinary fielding skills, opening batter Marcus Harris might not be preferred.
“One thing I do like about Bancroft, which I also like about Renshaw, is their ability to catch in the field. In the next year or two, we’re going to need to find two openers. The one thing that has worried me about Marcus Harris is his fielding.
“The way this series is looking like panning out, fielding is going to be crucial. I think that will go against someone like a Marcus Harris, whose fielding is not great,” Taylor explained.
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