Ashes series 2023: Australia men’s head coach Andrew McDonald has backed David Warner to retain his spot at the top of the order, insisting he can play a significant part during the upcoming ICC World Test Championship (WTC) final against India and Ashes series with England.
Despite being named in Australia’s squad for the World Test Championship final and the first two Ashes Tests, Warner’s inclusion in the latter matches seemed uncertain as selection chief George Bailey did not provide a clear answer when asked about the opener’s chances of playing.
Warner passed fifty just once in his last 15 Test innings before his dominant double-century against South Africa at the MCG during the Boxing Day Test in Melbourne last year.
He registered scores of 1, 10 and 15 in India during Border Gavaskar Trophy before being sent home to recover from a fractured elbow in February this year.
But McDonald has thrown his support behind the experienced left-hander and believes he can make a healthy contribution across the hectic six-Test schedule that includes the WTC final and Ashes series.
“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,” McDonald told SEN on Wednesday as quoted by cricket.com.au
“That’s why he’s on the plane. We think he’s got some good games left in him,” he said.
Asked what selectors had told Warner about his spot for the Ashes, the head coach said: “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.”
Warner looked to be in reasonable touch when scoring 516 runs from 14 IPL matches with the Delhi Capitals this year.
McDonald said he was buoyed by Warner’s form at the 2023 IPL and was quick to point out the 36-year-old’s successful haul of five half-centuries and 416 runs against England during Australia’s 2015 Ashes series in England.
“You can draw on some positive experiences in England in 2015 he was averaging mid-40s. 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 got still 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,” he added.
The World Test Championship final against India at The Oval commences on June 7, with the first Ashes Test in Birmingham from June 16.