India v Australia, 1st Test, Chennai February 20, 2013

Warner confident of playing first Test


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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Matthew on February 21, 2013, 23:42 GMT

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

  • Ashok 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?

  • John 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.

  • Roo 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...

  • James 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.

  • Dummy4 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.

  • ajith 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?

  • Rajaram on February 20, 2013, 13:25 GMT

    David Warner will blast the Indian bowling to outer space!

  • Doug on February 20, 2013, 12:53 GMT

    Beware the wounded player.

  • Rahul 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.