Australia v South Africa, CB Series January 8, 2009

Opener Warner blasts in to national scene


Shaun Tait is back in favour despite his injury struggles © Getty Images
 

Australia's selectors have shown they are willing to pick young players in purple patches after the New South Wales opener David Warner was promoted to the national Twenty20 side to face South Africa. Warner, a powerful 22-year-old left-hander, has had a boom start to the domestic season, scoring 343 FR Cup runs at a strike-rate of 133.98, and will be on trial at the MCG on Sunday for further engagements with the one-day team.

"Warner has just been eye-catching and for Twenty20 it's just an exciting option," Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of selectors, said. "That would extend through to one-day cricket as well. We are certainly looking at him in that form of the game as well."

Since Warner blasted 165 from 112 balls for the Blues in November, he has picked up an IPL contract with Delhi Daredevils and a deal to use a two-sided bat, which he tested against South Australia this week. In three Twenty20 games this season he has 101 runs from 62 deliveries.

He is expected to open the batting with Western Australia's Shaun Marsh at the MCG. "We think it's a very exciting plan," Hilditch said. "We're looking at power hitters at the top of the game, a couple of architects in the middle who turn over the scoring well, and some power hitters at five and six. It is the ideal make-up."

Warner, who has not represented the Blues in a first-class game, said he would not be changing the way he plays. "It would be a great thrill to get the chance to get out there and I'm just going to keep batting like myself," he told AAP. When he was picked he was so excited he was "jumping around in the pool".

While Warner is starting out, Shaun Tait has returned to the national team for the first time since taking a break due to physical and mental fatigue 12 months ago. Tait is still struggling with his body and is involved in a novel programme at South Australia where he picks the matches he feels he can appear in.

"It's probably not ideal that he's only just played a Twenty20 game, and has had a hamstring injury," Hilditch said. "He got a full medical clearance, and bowled pretty well in his last Twenty20. There's only Twenty20 going on for the next month, so there's not much opportunity for him to get much cricket. Our view is if he's fit he's in our best Twenty20 and one-day sides."

Hilditch said Tait would be restricted to the shorter forms of the game in the near future. "He's one of our Test-contracted bowlers so we still feel he can play Test cricket," he said. "The reality though is where he and his body are currently."

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo