India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai

Warner confident of playing first Test

Brydon Coverdale

February 20, 2013

Comments: 29 | Text size: A | A

David Warner crunches one through the off side, Australia v Sri Lanka, 1st Test, Hobart, 1st day, December 14, 2012
David Warner is set to play with a splint in his glove to protect his fractured thumb © Getty Images
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David Warner is preparing to bat with a splint - and through pain - in the first Test in Chennai as he continues his recovery from a fractured thumb. Warner faced pace bowling in the nets on Tuesday and was due to take part in a full fielding drill on Wednesday in what was effectively the final hurdle he needed to clear to prove his fitness after sitting out of cricket since he was struck on the thumb by Mitchell Johnson in the WACA nets late last month.

Warner suffered a crack in the joint and he expects to feel pain and have limited movement in the thumb for some time, but that is unlikely to keep him off the field. Warner said only "a proper injury", one that stopped him from running, fielding or throwing, would keep him out of Test cricket and he said he was prepared to put up with the pain he was enduring in the thumb to play for his country.

"I am very confident of playing," Warner said in Chennai. "I have had four long days of training. I have been hitting for an hour each session to get a feel of hitting the ball and putting myself under fatigue to see if I will get any pain as I go on. I have iced it every time after training. It has been sore, yes, but that's what is going to happen with a break.

"They said to me initially three to four weeks, it's now coming up to the end of the third week and it is still pretty sore. I am having a full training session in the field [on Wednesday] so I will know then 100 percent if I can catch balls. I caught some balls at 50 percent and felt no pain at all. I have a splint that I can use when I'm in the field, which protects the thumb and while I'm batting. At this present time, I am 100 percent ready to go."

Warner is well aware that if he plays in Chennai, it will not be a pain-free experience. Although India are likely to use a spin-heavy attack, Warner will still need to face Ishant Sharma with the new ball and he is relying on his splint to help protect him from any further damage from rising deliveries.

"There is a rubber piece which sits at the end of the thumb, I have a guard that sits halfway underneath and covers the top part so if I get hit, it gets protected," he said. "I got hit yesterday in the nets on it by a spinner. It was a bit painful but I'm all right. I have a nice hard plastic case as well on the outside so touch wood I don't get hit but, if I do, I will be right."

Provided Warner gets through the new ball, much of his work in this Test is likely to be against spin, with India considering including three slow men on a dry pitch expected to take plenty of turn. Despite having missed both the warm-up matches, Warner is confident he has the game to succeed against spin in Indian conditions.

"It's important to either get down the wicket or get real deep in your crease," Warner said. "If you can put them off their game, then you know you're in for a good day. My game is to be decisive - either go forward or go back. If I'm caught in between, that's where my downfall is. I feel my game is better where I'm putting the pressure on the bowler. You've got to show intent, try and look to score, but that doesn't mean scoring off every ball. You have to respect the good balls, and when the ball is there to be hit, use your feet."

One of his foes in the Indian spin department could be Harbhajan Singh, who in past series has riled the Australians with his chat on and off the field, and could be set to play his 100th Test in Chennai. Warner, who is arguably the most verbal of the current batch of Australians on the field, said he hoped he could use his bat to end any trash talk.

"I don't think there will be much chirp," Warner said. "I think that we're all good mates off the field. I think the IPL has set a good balance between all the nations, because everyone has played with each other in different IPL franchises. When we we're on the field we're very competitive. But there is a line there that no one ever crosses.

"I know you're going to get a little bit of banter from certain people but you're going to have to learn to cop that and that's how it is. We dish it out at home, we've got to be prepared to take it. Come game one, you've got your normal culprits as usual ... we all know who they are. They'll come out and start firing but you know what - it will only last probably half an hour if you get on top of them."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by fear_warner on (February 21, 2013, 23:42 GMT)

Thats the spirit, ANZAC fighting spirit. Go well D. Warner and all the australian team.

Posted by Nampally on (February 21, 2013, 22:20 GMT)

Full recovery from any fracture typically takes up to 10 weeks incl. physio. Warner had just 3 weeks & he is expecting to be fit to play. What happens if India have both their seamers, which they should, if only to get Warner out of the Tour. It is better to be safe than sorry & have a permanent damage. As a Cricket fan I feel sorry for the poor judgement of the OZ Selectors in not resting Warner. The consequences of this decison, is anybody's guess !.Will Warner take a legal action against CA, if he is knocked out of Cricket permanently with a fast bowlers blow on the same thumb?

Posted by jmcilhinney on (February 21, 2013, 5:47 GMT)

I don't really see how "rotation" is an issue here. "Rotation" is about resting fit players so that they don't get injuries. If Warner was left out because he was unfit to play then that would not be "rotation". That would be someone not playing because they were injured. That said, it seems an awful risk to play Warner under the circumstances. As someone else said, I don't wish for anyone to get hurt but I won't fell sorry for him if he does cop a whack on that thumb. I know that Warner and Cowan are the incumbent opening pair and you always want your best available XI on the field but, with four openers in the team, have they really got so little faith in Khawaja that they need to risk Warner like that? What might be a painful blow to another batsman could see him out of the game for months.

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 21, 2013, 5:09 GMT)

Seems to be a number of ill-informed comments about the "rotation" policy... Firstly it isn't a policy (media hype) but rather just assessing fast bowlers injuries & managing those injuries - this has been fully explained in previous articles...

Managing fast bowlers to avoid sustaining long term injuries is what CA want & the final call comes from Clarke, Arthur & Selector on duty - its not for spinners, wicket keepers or batters who often carry minor injuries into every 2nd game: e.g. Clarke, Watson regularly - sometimes Wade, Lyon, Warner... I doubt very much that Clarke & Watson are going into this series 100% fit but carrying a number of niggling injuries, but without them we'd be struggling badly...

Posted by TheBigBoodha on (February 21, 2013, 0:29 GMT)

Anyway, l hope he's OK. I suspect the tactics for Warner will be to absolutely go after the bowling for the first 20 overs and demoralise the opposition. He's not a great player of spin, so he might as well make hay while the sun shines. A lot will depend on who wins the toss. Whoever wins the toss will bat first. India is gambling by stripping all grass off the pitch. Great if they bat first, not so great if they lose the toss.

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 21:12 GMT)

Selectors have gone from bad to worthless!!! The team is dominated by Clarke-men, it doesn't matter if they drop catches, can't hold a bat or don't score runs ..... if you are a Clarke-man you are in!!!

Is he going to wear the splint in the field, in covers, in gully?? Can he take sharp catches??The selection is simply to vindicate the selectors earlier bad decision to put Warner on a plane and keep Khawaja out of the team.

And what about the blessed 'Rotation Policy'?? What an absolute farce?? So the selectors will rest a bowler because he is tired but play a batsman who with a broken finger?? This just adds to the evidence of why the Rotation Policy is used ..... to prevent bowlers from playing all the games in a series so that Clarke has a higher probability of winning MOTS!!! Damn it .... he was awarded MOTS against SL after he finished with a average of around 40 runs less than Hussey and he ran out Hussey. ..... and lets not forget the crap captaincy in the 3rd Test.

Posted by screamingeagle on (February 20, 2013, 16:30 GMT)

Warner is talking of pace bowlers. What he may not or do not want to realise is that spinners can also hit you on the thumb, possibly in the 2nd inning. Would be interesting to see. I do not want to see people getting hurt, but if Warner is knowingly taking that risk, he deserves anything that may come to him. As some others posted, why the rotation does not apply to this injury?

Posted by popcorn on (February 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT)

David Warner will blast the Indian bowling to outer space!

Posted by Potatis on (February 20, 2013, 12:53 GMT)

Beware the wounded player.

Posted by Sunil_Batra on (February 20, 2013, 10:29 GMT)

Ross's point hits the whole rotation policy on its core. Why would you allow a batsman to play if there is risk of injury and yet rest bowlers on the premise that they will get injured. I want Warner to play more then anyone else but it can't be at the expense of him getting a long term injury. It takes one ball to do that damage.

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 20, 2013, 10:25 GMT)

t's pretty damn odd that the aussie bowlers are forced to sit out games to safeguard against possible injuries yet in recent times both clarke and watson and now seemingly warner have been cleared to play with pre-existing problems. how can you justify having it both ways? Surely it makes sense to rest Warner and let Watson and Cowan open and Khawaja comes in at 4.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (February 20, 2013, 8:33 GMT)

Im pretty sure that they wouldnt let him play if he was going to be effected or risked further injury. If hes fit and able to comfortably hold a bat then why wouldnt he play?

Posted by zenboomerang on (February 20, 2013, 6:54 GMT)

Warner got the minor crack (not a break) in his thumb last month - it is supposed to be healed by now... If he or any other player gets hit by a similar ball again, then there is always the chance that an injury can occur - though I don't see a Johnson in the Ind squad - Jonno also managed to take out 3 SL players in the last Test series... With the pitches being unresponsive to bounce maybe the Ind players better double check their boxes are in perfect working order before walking out :P ...

Posted by PrasPunter on (February 20, 2013, 5:53 GMT)

whats great about the indians beating us in india in conditions favorable to them ? That they wanted to 'teach' us a lesson or two when we are in india is quite surprising. Hope our boys turn it around !! Go Aus !! God bless !!

Posted by KhanMitch on (February 20, 2013, 5:26 GMT)

@discobob some good points mate. Yes this is the time to have the rotation policy in play and ensure that Warner only plays if he is fit to play. Players will always want to play but you have to ensure they only play if it is the right decision for them. He has to think long term and not just the first test. @greatshirwani i would have your team as well with cowan Watto, hughes, clarke khawaja, Henriques wade siddle, pattinson lyon doherty. @ozcricketwriter Khawaja will be unlucky to miss our but i expect him to be a big part of our plans in the coming 12 months, he just needs a descent amount of games. And Johnson should play ahead of Starc based on him having played Tests in India. Starc does have height but bounce from the pace bowlers won't be a significant factor on the Indian pitches

Posted by cric_freakNo2 on (February 20, 2013, 5:15 GMT)

Gutsy! Appreciate it. Long-term effects :O He is warner on eof the fittest individual i have seen in modern day cricket. Even with is injury he is better than most of Indian players in terms of commitment. I doubt if ny1 disagrees :P

Posted by sifter132 on (February 20, 2013, 4:37 GMT)

I'm reminded of the last tour when Simon Katich played through a thumb break - a break that wasn't revealed to the press..."It definitely hindered me during the first Test in Mohali," Katich said. "I felt like I was batting one-handed. It felt better in the second Test but the big problem was it affected my preparation. I had to stop hitting balls." That was a massive ego trip for the selectors and Katich, thinking he could do better 1 handed, than any reserve could. Warner's injury sounds better though, hopefully he does better than Katich did...

Posted by Aravind.Koushik on (February 20, 2013, 4:30 GMT)

Waiting to watch how Ishant Sharma bowls to David Warner. Still cant forget when Ishant said in Australia to Warner "come to India we will bowl you out" something like that ! Warner said "Indians have got in their mind that they are not going to win here in Australia" LOL thats the best I have heard !

Posted by Mary_786 on (February 20, 2013, 4:01 GMT)

You can't blame Warner for wanting to play, but i hope selectors, coach and most importantly Clarke can talk some sense into Warner as he can't risk long term damage. Its one thing to play in the nets but another to get hit in the game. There is alot of cricket over the 12 months and we can't lose one of our more important players to long term injury.

Posted by pratit on (February 20, 2013, 3:26 GMT)

He need not worry about his thumb. In the last Australian tour both Ishant and Umesh were bowling over 90 mph consistently. Now, Umesh is out with an injury and Ishant has lost 10-12 km of pace due to his injury. So, Warner's thumb is secure

Posted by greatshinwari on (February 20, 2013, 3:24 GMT)

nice to be in team david warner... my team for first test warner cowan hughes watto clarke khwaja/henriques wade siddle starc/pattinson lyon doherty

Posted by timohyj on (February 20, 2013, 3:12 GMT)

I don't get these Australians. They rest players who are in perfectley fine condition and they play people with broken bones. they did the same thing with Brett Lee last year. And Warner talks alot about moving his feet but he actually barely moves his feet at all. HE stays on the crease and tries to hit the ball

Posted by   on (February 20, 2013, 2:53 GMT)

this series' gonna be tough . surely India would want to erase what happened in DOWNUNDER with the victory bt Australia have seen what England did to India in India and would be trying to recreate same thing. .all in all series will be on fireside. .

Posted by Gordo85 on (February 20, 2013, 2:34 GMT)

I hope that he doesn't make it to be honest. Look at it this way if he starts to fail in the Tests then he would blame the injury and then people like me will say "Well why was he even playing if he wasn't fully recovered from his injury"

Posted by disco_bob on (February 20, 2013, 2:23 GMT)

Well it's a fantastic attitude and one that Graham Smith has demonstrated, but in this case it is an injury well before a series and it's one that he needs to be fully fit. When Warner justifies it by saying 'they said three or four weeks and it's coming up to three', I don't think the doctors included heavy duty 'fatiguing' net sessions in their 3-4 week assessment. In other words if he did the right thing and missed this first test where we should be able to win without him then he'd be guaranteed to play in the rest.

So no only is he jeopodising the team's position with his inappropriate heroics but he is jeopising his own recover for the other three matches. Not only that but it sort of makes a mockery of the rotation policy to stop key players being injured.

If a player is able to declare himself fit to play then why have we got a rotation policy? You can't have it both ways. We would not have lost the series with SA had it not been for two separate breakdowns in our bowlers.

Posted by Ozcricketwriter on (February 20, 2013, 2:12 GMT)

I expect the final XI to be: Ed Cowan, David Warner (if fit), Phillip Hughes, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke, Glenn Maxwell, Matthew Wade, Mitchell Starc, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Xavier Doherty. 12th man: Usman Khawaja (who will play, batting at 5, with Watson opening and Clarke at 4, if Warner is ruled out due to injury). While I would personally rather have Pattinson instead of Siddle, Bird instead of Doherty and Henriques instead of Maxwell, this looks like the way that they will go. While Khawaja will be desperately unlucky to miss out, it looks like that is going to be the case, at least for the 1st test. No return to the subcontinent for this Pakistan-born player, not yet at least.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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