David Warner replacement: The tried and tested Australian opening batsman has been ruled out of the pink-ball Adelaide Test.
Australia opening batsman David Warner has been officially ruled out of the first Test against India in Adelaide set to be played with the pink ball from December 17. Warner, who suffered a groin strain during the ODI series, had minimal chances of staging a recovery and the same has now been confirmed.
The 34-year old player has highlighted running between the wickets and fielding as key areas which are highly likely to be affected with his presence at the Adelaide Oval.
“I feel I have made great progress in a short amount of time and it’s best for me to stay here in Sydney to continue working on getting back to full fitness. The injury feels a lot better, but I need to be able to satisfy in my own mind and to my team-mates that it is 100 per cent ready for Test match conditions.
“That includes running between the wickets and being agile in the field. Right now I feel I am short of being able to play at peak fitness and another 10 days will make a difference,” Warner said in a statement.
Warner, who has hinted at taking 10 additional days to attain optimum fitness, has the support of head coach Justin Langer as far as playing the second Test in Melbourne is concerned.
“If there is one guy you know will go well above and beyond that’s Dave [David Warner]. He has done an incredible job to get to where he is today and we hope to have a fully fit David Warner at his absolute best in Melbourne,” Langer said in a statement.
David Warner replacement
Had Warner been ruled out on the day before yesterday, Will Pucocski would have been the automatic front-runner to accompany Joe Burns at the top of the order in the first Test. However, Pucovski’s mild concussion and Burns failing to get off the mark against India A yesterday has changed the dynamics for the hosts.
Burns takes a big stride forward aiming for a booming drive and instead sees his stumps splattered. Umesh strikes and Aus A are 1/1. #AUSAvIND
— Melinda Farrell (@melindafarrell) December 8, 2020
While Pucovski has been ruled out of the second warm-up match which will be a day-night affair at the Sydney Cricket Ground, Burns will get another opportunity via another Australia A appearance to impress the team management.
Considering Pucovski fails to recover till December 17, Australia will have the option of calling in replacements for him and Warner and then selecting two opening batsmen post observing Burns’ performance in the second practice match.
Who are the contenders to replace Warner in pink-ball Adelaide Test vs India?
Opening batsman Marcus Harris, who had made his Test debut during India’s last tour of Australia and scored 35 (60) and 25* (42) in the recently concluded practice match, could make his Test comeback for Australia provided he does well in Sydney from December 11.
Set to open alongside Burns in the warm-up match, a solid opening partnership for Australia A could well propel both the batsmen to open in Adelaide.
In three Sheffield Shield innings for Victoria this season, Harris’ 355 runs have come at an average of 118.33 including a double century against South Australia.
Having scored 485 runs in four Sheffield Shield matches at an average of 97 including three centuries and a half-century, 37-year old Shaun Marsh is the second-highest run-scorer behind Pucovski this season.
Marsh, who has hit three half-centuries in 19 Test innings against India at home, doesn’t have the best of records against the given opposition but Australia can bank on his experience against the new ball especially in the absence of Warner.
“Marcus Harris has been in some good touch, he could be one of those young bolters that could come in and do the job for you. And right out of left field, I think maybe even Shaun Marsh could be one of those stop gap guys given the experience we need at the top of the order,” former Australia captain Allan Border was quoted as saying by Fox Sports News about Australia’s openers in Adelaide.
Usman Khawaja (226 runs in five innings including a century), whose last Test appearance was during the last Ashes series, might not have scored as much as Pucovski or Marsh but can be recalled on the sheer basis of his experience.
With the last of his seven Test innings as an opening batsman coming against India in Sydney last year, the 33-year old batsman has 484 runs at an average of 96.80 as an opener.