The Investec Ashes 2013 June 15, 2013

Arthur admits Warner Ashes 'risk'


Australia coach Mickey Arthur has conceded it would be a gamble to select David Warner for the first Investec Ashes Test at Trent Bridge, which starts on July 10, given the batsman will not have played any competitive cricket in the preceding month. Warner was stood down from the team after throwing a punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham bar on Sunday night, and has since been suspended from playing for Australia until the first Test of the series.

Australia are scheduled to play two four-day tour matches ahead of the series, and may yet progress to the knockout stages of the ongoing Champions Trophy. Warner has not played any Test cricket since Australia's ill-fated tour of India, in March.

"Hypothetically, it would be a risk," Arthur said. "He wouldn't have had any cricket - but he would have had training. We've got plans to give him some centre-wicket practice. I guess it's an opportunity for other members in the squad to stand up in the first two practice games, because if they do that, they've got a real good chance of starting that first Test.

"A centre-wicket is the only way we can almost replicate match conditions. That's what we'll be trying to do with Dave while the boys are playing against Somerset and Worcestershire."

Warner has already switched to a Test training programme while his team-mates prepare for the virtual quarter-final against Sri Lanka, and Arthur outlined a commitment to accommodating Warner's unique situation at training in the next few weeks.

"We've got to give David the first possible chance and the best possible preparation to be ready for the first Test match - if we select him. He comes down early and we get our work done with him. He's now gone from the white ball to the red ball. He's working daily on that and I think that's right. We've got to service our player to make sure that he's ready to go, come the Ashes."

Arthur was reluctant to explain how details of the incident on Sunday night were relayed to team management, choosing to label those details "irrelevant", as Michael Clarke had the previous day. He was, however, keen to impress that the attack and its repercussions have not detracted from his side's preparations at the front-end of a long tour.

"I certainly think Dave has put it behind him. He's learnt a big lesson that will hopefully work in the right way for him. The squad is totally focused on the cricket and we all are. That's what we're here for: to have a big English summer. Nothing will deter us from that."

Australia's chances of qualifying for the Champions Trophy semi-finals are to some extent dependent on the outcome of Sunday's clash between England and New Zealand. If New Zealand are the victors, Australia enter a straightforward shootout with Sri Lanka but if England win, they must beat Sri Lanka well enough to outdo New Zealand's net run-rate, which, at present, is the best in the group.

Sri Lanka have had a marginal edge over Australia in ODIs in the last 18 months, winning 6 of their last 10 matches - all of which were played in Australia. Arthur said defusing Lasith Malinga's yorkers and conquering Sri Lanka's experienced top order would be key to overcoming the opposition.

"Malinga is a phenomenon. He's the best death bowler in the world without a doubt at the moment," he said. "We're very fortunate to have played Sri Lanka a lot over the last 15 months. We've had two one-day series against them. All our players have faced quite a bit of Malinga and we'll have our plans, come the game.

"You talk about the big three in Sri Lanka's batting; Tillakaratne Dilshan, Kumar Sangakkara and Mahela Jayawardene. Sri Lanka have built up a really nice unit. They've got some good players in all different areas of their team who scrap hard. We know we've got to be really on our money."

Andrew Fidel Fernando is ESPNcricinfo's Sri Lanka correspondent. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • John on June 18, 2013, 0:44 GMT

    Does Arthur really feel that Warner is so important to the Australian test team that he should be given special treatment after being suspended by CA?

    Warner needs help for his anger management issues. I'd have been more impressed if Arthur had said that when he can demonstrate that he has better control over his temper he'll be considered again. Pretending it all never happened and that all he needs is preferential cricket coaching is not going to resolve Warner's problems or improve Australia's performance.

  • Vikram on June 17, 2013, 19:34 GMT

    Well, it is not just Warner who is at risk. I believe that The Ashes might be the end of the road for Mickey himself!

  • j on June 17, 2013, 11:52 GMT

    Despite all the recent off-field media attention he's received recently, what's been clear for a while is that Warner is just a walking wicket for Anderson. You only have to look at the the 2012 whitewash and not just this tour, to see that he lacks the skill and temperament to consistently perform, or in his case not perform at all, on anything other than a pancake pitch. To think that he could be next in line to be captain too is just horrific, he needs to spend at least a year or two play first class cricket, although not in the notoriously weak shield league though.

  • Humayoon on June 17, 2013, 11:29 GMT

    @Beertjie - if others fail and Warner has shown form, let him in. My problem is that neither him nor Hughes have shown any form and yet, repeatedly, are being given chances. The 'Baggy Green' used to be a hard-earned and coveted 'trophy' - one which these two heads don't deserve at the moment!

  • Stephen on June 17, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    Actually I'd suggest one M Arthur is the biggest risk, with a J Sutherland running close behind. The trouble is at the top more than anywhere else.

  • Mashuq on June 17, 2013, 5:09 GMT

    Agree about the non-forced through injury selection of Warner for the first test @Haiphong, but they need to cover contingencies like injury. Poor form by one of the others will permit his return during the Ashes for sure. Let him stew and if he doesn't take whatever chances he gets, there are others (admittedly not many) waiting to take the place of failed great over-hyped great hopes like Warner, Hughes, etc. Just let Rogers buy us some time. True @RednWhiteArmy, it's not all Arthur's fault, but he's little help at this stage of our 'development'.

  • Eddie on June 17, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    Rogers, Cowan, Khawaja, Smith, Clarke(c), Bailey(vc), Haddin, Pattinson, Harris, Lyon, Bird. Hughes has been found out by multiple opposition and Warner deserves to miss the whole overseas Ashes series. This team would suit the longer version of the game. Cowan and Rogers both dig in, Khawaja is a natural 3, Smith can attack and defend, Clarke is best at 5, Bailey could play a Hussey like role, Haddin is a better keeper than Wade(will put up with this silly shot selection).

  • Ian on June 17, 2013, 1:11 GMT

    Where has Arthur been in this whole debacle? How come he doesn't have control of Warner's off-field behaviour. We hear Warner was in the bar regularly and then goes again with a number of the young players. Arthur was very visible inthe homework debacle, for something of virtually no consequence in comparison to Warner's efforts. And now we hear he's devoting all his efforts to getting Warner ready for the Tests. Spend some time getting Khawaja into the team. This guy has been a disaster for Australia. No wonder the South Aftricans ditched him.

  • Anupam on June 16, 2013, 19:06 GMT

    Warner is a risk then what about Cowan, Hughes, M. Waste, Lyon, Starc, Ahmed, khawaja ? Watson, Klinger, Marsh, Clarke, Smith, Haddin, Moises, Siddle, MJ, Pattin, Beer/Boyce.Hauritz.

  • richard on June 16, 2013, 15:34 GMT

    I have been following Australian cricket since 1959. I have seen the Australian game survive the uncertainty produced by World Series Cricket, the rebel tours to South Africa and the ensuing dark days for a depleted Australian team. The actions of Cricket Australia and the selectors over the past few months worry me more about where the Australian game is heading than anything that has happened in the past.

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