India in Australia 2011-12 January 16, 2012

Warner a future captain, says Mickey Arthur


David Warner may soon captain Australia in Twenty20 internationals but the head coach Mickey Arthur has said he has the potential to lead his country "in any form of the game".

A poor run of scores in the Big Bash League has the incumbent T20 captain Cameron White looking over his shoulder, and Warner has advanced his leadership credentials greatly by leading the Sydney Thunder. He was also named captain of a Cricket Australia Chairman's XI for one of India's pre-series warm-up matches in Canberra, proof that the national selectors are not blind to the possibility.

Add to that a barnstorming 180 in Perth to set the course of the third Test and Warner's stock is rising fast. Arthur, also a selector, said his own perceptions of Warner as a brash T20 merchant had been confounded by working closely with him since his Test debut against New Zealand in Brisbane.

"Davey has leadership potential. He has the ability to lead any Australian team in any form of the game at some stage," Arthur said. "Whether that's in the next couple of weeks or whether that's in a year or five years time I'm not sure.

"He has a very good cricket brain. He leads a lot by example. He trains the house down. The perceptions that everybody had of David Warner and the reality of David Warner the person are poles apart."

Arthur further believes that Shaun Marsh can arrest his slump in the fourth Test in Adelaide after he saw signs of improvement in Marsh's batting at the WACA. Arthur also hinted that Shane Watson was more likely to make his comeback from injury in next month's limited-overs matches rather than in the Adelaide Test, where the offspinner Nathan Lyon might be the only inclusion.

While Lyon's return will force a reshuffle of the fast-bowling line-up, the batting group is unlikely to change, which will give the struggling Marsh and Brad Haddin a chance to regain their form. Marsh has made 0, 3, 0 and 11 in this series and he is the only one of the top six who has not made a significant contribution to Australia's 3-0 lead.

Cricket Australia has also cleared Marsh and Haddin, along with Lyon and Mitchell Starc, to play in the Big Bash League before the Adelaide Test, a sign that they are the few men who need more time in the middle. The rest of the Test players will remain out of the Twenty20 tournament while they prepare for the fourth Test.

"The stars have aligned for us in the whole series except in the No.3 position," Arthur said. "We haven't got anywhere near selecting the squad that's going to go down there. If Shaun gets that opportunity, which I'm hoping he does, I'm pretty sure he'll go out there and perform well.

"I saw signs of him coming back. I saw signs of his movement being a lot crisper. His weight transfer was a lot better. He looked really good at a point in this innings [in Perth]. I'm just hoping he gets through it and gets a score, because if he gets a score, Shaun is a player who, once he gets on a roll, is hard to bowl at. Hopefully Adelaide is the catalyst for him."

Marsh has a fine record at Adelaide Oval, where he has made two centuries and two fifties from five first-class matches and averages 64.44. Another big score there would ease the pressure on him after his lean patch, which followed a six-week lay-off due to a serious back injury that he picked up while batting in the Cape Town Test in November.

"We just thought he was tentative in the first two Test matches," Arthur said. "By his own admission he was as well. It's hard when you're coming back into the team after an injury, it's always tough. You need to get going, you start doubting yourself and your ability. You just need a score and he hasn't got that yet. Hopefully Adelaide is the place and hopefully he takes that into the Twenty20s and one-dayers."

Those shorter-format games, which begin with a T20 against India in Sydney on February 1, could also mark the return of Watson, who has not played a home Test so far this summer due to his injury problems. Watson has been battling hamstring and calf injuries this season, and whenever he returns to the Test side, it will mean a reshuffle for the batting order with David Warner and Ed Cowan having established a promising opening combination.

"We're wanting a fit and firing Shane Watson for the T20s and one-day series and I'm pretty sure we're going to have that," Arthur said. "Whether he plays in Adelaide or not, I'm not sure. But I do know that Shane Watson will be around our Twenty20 and one-day side.

"I don't see the need to change too much right now. I think we've got some really good momentum. We've had a lot of success with this squad."

The one change that does seem certain for the Adelaide Test, which starts on Tuesday next week, is the return of Lyon for one of the fast bowlers. Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus appear to be certain starters, especially with such a long break between matches, while Starc and Ryan Harris are the two men in danger of losing their place.

"All indications are in Adelaide you're going to play a spinner, there's no doubt about that," Arthur said. "Mitchell Starc came into the squad this time and he performed really well. It's part of us broadening the base of our quick bowlers. We'll have a look at how all the guys pull up."

The early finish to the Perth Test, where Australia regained the Border-Gavaskar Trophy, has given most of the players a chance to fly home before they reconvene in Adelaide.

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Johnathon on January 18, 2012, 5:06 GMT

    A bit to early. He does have incredible maturity for his age but he is in the form of his life and up against a mentally and physically depleted Indian attack. Remember now that Michael Clarke made a triple, and both Hussey and Ponting made easy 100's against this exact same attack. Also remember that this same attack has given 400+ runs almost every single time in England. The tough times will come, especially when he will tour the subcontinent. Because of the IPL he does have experience in the subcontinent, but we will have to see that in the Test Arena

  • Peter on January 18, 2012, 3:51 GMT

    Bit early yet to put this on him. More likely he will be leading a procession of batsmen back to the pavilion. One swallow doesn't make a meal, or something along those lines.

  • Anupam on January 17, 2012, 13:36 GMT

    he is warner not WARNE. his batting style not suitable for test cricket. he is like sehwag clicks then flops for a long time then again clicks with bang then again flop. IN future he wil select or not this is the first question. FUTURE CAPTAIN OMG!!!!! why not the best experience batsman KATICH does't replace marsh & warner. JAQUES & VOGES are ultimate replacement. HARRIS OUT coulter nile IN. LYON out BEER IN.

  • mandeep kumar on January 17, 2012, 13:04 GMT

    I love the hunger and passion with which Aussies play their cricket. They perhaps have had the smoothest transition post retirement of their stalwarts. they are back to being a formidiable side. Just because you are capable of smashing a ton of 60 odd balls doesnot make you a captain material. May be Warner can be a future skipper, IF he persists with good show. Meanwhile Clarke has a lot to offer to Aussie cricket. Dont steal his thunder as yet by making such silly statements. I think Warner and Clarke will have a good laugh when they hear this :)

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2012, 8:29 GMT

    Mitchell Marsh will be a future Australian Captain, I watched him dissect the opposition at the U/19 World Cup with strategic moves AND he can bowl as well as bat, Keep your eye on him over the next couple of years

  • Anver on January 17, 2012, 7:31 GMT

    Still early days for Warner in test cricket........ so i think Its too early to comment that he's a captain material..... even left hand opener Philip Huges started his test career with a bang, but now he's struggling big time & is out of the team.... so he need to establish himself & concrete his spot. Any way he's good future for Aus !!!!!!!!

  • Dummy4 on January 17, 2012, 6:01 GMT

    Sometimes people seem to look for the cloud hiding in a silver lining. Warner's century - the FASTEST EVER by an opener - was scored on a track that was a bit flat against mediocre bowling, true. But how does that invalidate it when he was the only player to score a ton in the match? Short memories must be spreading around because he scored 123 and carried his bat on a pitch as green as any in England with the ball moving like a tango dancer not too long ago, and against a team whose bowling in that game cannot be impeached. There's no reason to think he isn't the real deal right now.

  • rob on January 17, 2012, 5:58 GMT

    @ the Pakistani bloke who doesn't have a name. Well said and I totally agree. Lets just see if Warner can keep it going before we start making comments like that. As far as the Test team is concerned, what's wrong with the current captain. Last time I looked he was going OK. You're going brilliantly Mickey, but gee whiz mate, how about just taking things one thing at a time for the next little while.

  • Sayeed on January 17, 2012, 5:43 GMT

    I guess it's a bit too early to think Warner as a future captain. Though I don't have any doubt that, he is a very good team man who always tries to put up some sort of examples for his team mates. But his consistency as a batsman is yet to be proved.

  • Roo on January 17, 2012, 5:12 GMT

    No problems with Warner being 'thought of' a future captain... Already has 3 years experience at international level in T20 & ODI's... His commitment to the team is excellent... He'll make a good T20 captain so should be given the reins now... Should also move Wade up from T20 to ODI keeper... I wonder where this leaves Paine (future captain) & Watson's (VC) future roles in the team?... With Watson's Test average dropping significantly since being made VC maybe its time to re-evaluate his role in the team... With a Test average only 5 runs higher than Marsh, both must be considered as fragile batsmen to team performance...

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