NERINA DREYER looks at the impact that David Warner’s absence will have on the Australia team in their upcoming clashes with India.
Warner injured his groin during Sunday’s ODI victory over India and was ruled out for the final ODI as well as the T20I series and will be in a race for time to be fit for the Test series.
According to the team doctor, the injury can take four to six weeks to heal, which means Warner will most likely miss the opening Test match, too.
Warner’s ODI contributions
Warner made a significant impact in both ODIs by scoring 69 and 83, respectively. The Warner-Finch opening-partnership wicket was significant in both ODIs, with Warner losing his wicket at 156-1 in the 28th over during the first ODI and Finch his on 142-1 in the 23rd over of the second ODI. Finch and Warner have a rhythm together and they built the foundation for the team that had Australia set massive totals in both ODIs (374-6 and 389-4) – in part because of the good start by Warner and Finch.
Steve Smith may have gone on to score centuries in both games, but it is a different ball game for a No 3 to come in at 10-1 vs 142-1. The starts given by Warner and Finch set up Smith to go on to become man of the match on both occasions.
Possible replacements for Warner
D’Arcy Short has been called up to the team to replace Warner. Short has scored four 50s in T20Is and all four was scored when he opened the batting.
Marnus Labuschagne said he is willing to open the batting with Finch, but he has never opened an ODI. He is best suited at No 4 where he can support Smith and the rest of the middle order to make a massive total or chase down a big score.
The most likely replacement for Warner in the shorter formats would be Matthew Wade. He has opened the batting for Australia in 16 ODIs and has scored three 50s while opening. If Warner is not ready by the first Test his possible replacements would be Joe Burns or Will Pucovski.
All the possible replacements are good cricketers, but they are not tasked with replacing any average cricketer. They need to replace one of the most prolific players in the game and the question remains – are they are up to the task or not? Only time will tell …