Under-fire Australian opener David Warner appears to have the backing of the selectors despite failing in the first Test against South Africa and going nearly three years without a hundred.
Warner has not scored a Test century since January 2020 and a string of low scores, including nought and three against the Proteas on an unforgiving Brisbane pitch, has intensified the pressure on Australia’s top-order talisman.
But chairman of selectors George Bailey said the 36-year-old should not be judged on his performance against South Africa.
“I don’t know how much to read into this wicket or this match itself and say that any batsmen on either side is in good or bad touch,” Bailey said. “I personally think there’s runs around the corner for him.”
The powerful left-hander has averaged just 27 over the past two years and with tours to India and England coming up, there has been some speculation that he may be playing his last series.
Warner has publicly stated that he wants to retire after next year’s Ashes tour, but he will need to score runs in the next two Tests against the Proteas to secure his place in the squad.
“I still think he’s preparing as well as he can, he’s looking fantastic in the nets,” Bailey said. “No doubt he’d like a few more runs and to be contributing more at the top of the order, but I have full confidence that it will come.”
Warner’s averages in India (24.25) and England (26.04) are sub-par and during the 2019 Ashes he scored at an abysmal 9.50 runs per innings.
Bailey said the opener was not yet showing signs of succumbing to age.
“I still think he’s moving well. I still think he’s catching well and I think when people start to go, the catching goes and the moving goes,” Bailey said. “But he’s still an outstanding fielder, still fit as a fiddle.
Australia captain Pat Cummins, however, may have inadvertently let slip that Warner’s position is not set in stone.
When asked whether fast bowler Scott Boland was safe with Josh Hazlewood returning to fitness ahead of the Boxing Day Test, Cummins talked up the depth of Australian pace bowling.
But he also said former opening batter Marcus Harris remained a key part of the squad.
“He’s a huge part of this team and I’m sure he’ll get a chance,” Cummins said.
© Agence France-Presse