The Investec Ashes 2013

Clean slate for Warner - Lehmann

Daniel Brettig in Worcester

June 30, 2013

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David Warner chats with Darren Lehmann before the day's play, Somerset v Australians, Taunton, 4th day, June 29, 2013
Darren Lehmann praised David Warner's work ethic at Taunton © Getty Images
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A "clean slate" under the Darren Lehmann regime and centre-wicket nets mean David Warner remains in serious contention for the first Investec Ashes Test. Peter Siddle, however, has more to do after Lehmann said he would not accept senior players coasting through tour matches.

Warner, who is currently suspended for throwing a punch at England's Joe Root, was a consistently early arrival at Taunton's County Ground for use of the practice pitches before play, meeting the training standards Lehmann said he will expect from here on. His poor disciplinary record under the former coach Mickey Arthur does not bother Lehmann, so long as Warner does not relapse.

"Very much so a clean slate," Lehmann said. "We can't control what's happened in the past. We've just got to worry about the future and make sure he gets enough nets and then comes into consideration like everyone else. That's all we can do.

"We were lucky enough the facilities that we've had centre wickets every day and he's been the first there and last to leave, so I've been pretty happy with his preparation and what he's trying to get out of what he can do without playing a game.

"I don't know what's happened in the past, so for me he's got to do that. And he's not the only one, everyone in the squad's got to train that way, we want to train as hard as we can and be the best we can be at training, and then transfer that into the games."

Lehmann's attitude to training and warm-up matches also applies to his fast bowlers. While James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc were close to their speedy, swinging best against Somerset, Siddle gave the overall impression of saving his top level for Trent Bridge.

In this, he reflected the bowling of Merv Hughes early on the 1993 tour, when he roared into life at Old Trafford having taken barely a wicket beforehand.

Lehmann said he expected more, particularly if it is decided to give Siddle more overs against Worcestershire. "We'll see whether he plays or doesn't play in Worcester, the main thing for him is making sure he's ready to go," Lehmann said.

"Bowlers are a different species at the best of times, mentally and physically, but for me it's a case of making sure they play the best they can each game. We want him to bowl well each and every time, whether it's a tour game or a Test match, and he knows that."

Australia's players were given a day off in Worcester on Sunday ahead of training Monday and their final pre-Ashes match on Tuesday. Michael Clarke will play again as he chases additional match conditioning. So too Shane Watson, who will bowl at New Road after the selection of four other pacemen kept him from rolling his arm over at Taunton.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by ozwriter on (July 3, 2013, 9:45 GMT)

by clean slate, he is back to square 1. his indiscretion won't harm him, but he also needs to prove himself. will be very difficult to pick warner for the 1st test

Posted by Chris_P on (July 3, 2013, 7:02 GMT)

@H_Z_O. Re:Smith. You are talking to the converted as I get the opportunity of watching the Blues quite often & the way Smith has applied himself to improve his technique has been a credit to him. Also agree his bowling is still in development stage, he is not an allrounder, but he can roll his arm over with leg spin if required. if ever you see Watson bat for the Blues, he appears to not want to be there, uninterested, which of course is reflected in his fc performances for the past 3 years. When available, I would prefer he didn't play due to his lack of contributions & interest he shows, an attitude which was directly opposite to Ponting who loved the chance to play with younger developing players.

Posted by Shaggy076 on (July 3, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

I think what Lehmann meant is that his off-field record will no longer considered it will be his onfield record. As such he wont be playing the first test was in poor form coming to England and without a chance to play any warm up games doesn't have a chance to push into the side. His test record is average at best and to play him with no meaningful cricket for sometime is a risk that we don't need to take considering so many batsman on tour are showing handy form.

Posted by BradmanBestEver on (July 2, 2013, 13:01 GMT)

no such thing as a clean slate. mud sticks

Posted by H_Z_O on (July 2, 2013, 11:44 GMT)

@Chris_P yeah, I agree, Watson's not applied his talent anywhere near as well as he should. There seemed to be an obsession with trying to turn him into the "Australian Flintoff" but that may have done him more harm than good. Flintoff was more of a bowling all-rounder, whereas Watson might have been better off looking at Kallis. Watson's bowling is good but his real talent lies in his batting.

For a while it seemed like they were making the same mistake with Steve Smith but it looks like they've reversed trend on that. Smith's bowling should come on with experience but right now his batting is good enough for Test cricket and is only going to get better by playing. Calling him an all-rounder gives him license to take his wicket for granted, but if he's playing as a batsman, he's more likely to value it. In India he showed that when he values his wicket, the boy can bat.

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 2, 2013, 10:56 GMT)

Warner has a pretty big slate to clean. He'll need a pressure washer so big he may need the local fire department to send an engine out!

Posted by Greatest_Game on (July 2, 2013, 5:40 GMT)

@ bringbackhaydos - you wrote "(Warner) has played less tests than cowan and has more hundreds and fifties." NOT TRUE! At LEAST check the records:

Warner: Matches 19, inngs 34. 100s - 3. 50s - 7. Balls faced 1808 Cowan: Matches 17, Inngs 30. 100s -1. 50s - 6. Balls faced 2381

Cowan played 4 less inngs & FACED 573 MORE BALLS. He does an opener's job - take the shine off the ball, tire the attack, & protect the middle. Warner has 3 big knocks. Without them, his ave is 28. Cowan has one big knock. Without it his ave is 29.3. Warner is out under 25 runs in 50% of knocks, & out under 10 in 30%. You wrote "cowan scores so slow it puts pressure on warner ." WRONG. WRONG. WRONG. 30% of inngs Warner is dismissed within 15 balls faced. On ave faces just 53 balls! He's gone BEFORE any scoreboard pressure builds. Warner's stats are saved by 3 big, knocks. The other 31 innings have been simply miserable. The stats don't lie. Do the work & check them before you needlessly slander Cowan!

Posted by Barnesy4444 on (July 2, 2013, 3:11 GMT)

Bringbackhaydos is right, 6 batsmen, 'keeper at 7 and 4 bowlers. Khawaja and Smith should be fighting it out for vacant middle order spots, pick both of them against Worcs. I don't have a problem with Warner batting at 5-6 in the first test. I can see him staying there long-term and being a modern Douggie Walters. If Cowan isn't opening in the first test then he shouldn't be taking up a spot in the tour game.

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Daniel Brettig Assistant editor Daniel Brettig had been a journalist for eight years when he joined ESPNcricinfo, but his fascination with cricket dates back to the early 1990s, when his dad helped him sneak into the family lounge room to watch the end of day-night World Series matches well past bedtime. Unapologetically passionate about indie music and the South Australian Redbacks, Daniel's chief cricketing achievement was to dismiss Wisden Almanack editor Lawrence Booth in the 2010 Ashes press match in Perth - a rare Australian victory that summer.
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