Worcestershire v Australians, New Road, 4th day July 5, 2013

Clarke encourages Warner return


Australia's captain Michael Clarke has given a decidedly strong indication he wants David Warner in his first Test team, despite the left-hander's lack of match preparation. It will now be a matter of whether or not the selectors agree with reinstating Warner immediately after his suspension for punching Joe Root, or demure for reasons of Test match readiness.

Speaking for the first time since the day of Mickey Arthur's replacement as the national team coach by Darren Lehmann and his resignation as a selector, Clarke expressed the staunch view that Warner has now served his punishment for events at the Walkabout in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy, and that the left-hander is not the kind of player to need matches behind him in order to feel confident.

Should Warner be chosen it will be in a middle order role, after Lehmann confirmed Shane Watson and Chris Rogers had been inked in as opening batsmen for the series. The concept of a powerful counter-puncher at No. 6 has grown on the tourists, though his selection would not only run contrary to Warner's lack of preparation but his form before that. Scores of 0, 0 and 9 in his three innings so far in Britain followed on from an indifferent IPL and a poor Test series against India.

"He's certainly served his punishment," Clarke said, echoing Lehmann's words about Warner having a "clean slate" under the new regime. "His punishment was no cricket up until the first Test match and now it's about working out what our best team is. I don't believe David won't be selected because of punishment. I think that's been dealt with. It'll be about working out our best team.

"Certainly the selectors are going to take into consideration that he hasn't played much cricket over the past couple of weeks but on the other side of that the type of player Davey is it's more about his mind being clear and playing with that intent. I don't think Dave is the type of player that needs two four day games to make some runs to feel confident.

"If he's in the right place batting well in the nets I'm confident if the selectors do decide to pick him he can walk straight out onto the first Test to make a hundred."

Apart from their fitness and persistence, Clarke and the selectors gained little in the way of relevant knowledge about their bowlers on the final day at New Road. It was a fitting name for the ground given the way the pitch behaved, steadfastly refusing to break up or offer anything but the most minimal assistance. There has been some speculation about Peter Siddle's place given a lack of wickets, but Clarke spoke generously of the most experienced fast bowler at his disposal.

"Form certainly helps but Sidds has been a strike weapon for us over the last couple of years," Clarke said. "The selectors will pick the best attack, you don't necessarily have to be one of the best bowlers, it will be a complementary attack that helps us have success in the conditions we're about to face. I think it's one of his strengths. But they will need to pick an attack, not an individual bowler."

While admittedly close to Arthur, Clarke said the team had settled quickly following Lehmann's appointment, and spoke happily of the displays put on against Somerset and Worcestershire, which suggested a team growing in confidence, unity and belief in their skills. For this he joined the rest of the squad in praising Lehmann, recalling their earlier time in the Test team together.

"We're talking more about old times, that's for sure," Clarke said. "I was lucky enough to play a fair bit of cricket with Darren so it's nice to be back talking cricket with him. He's got an amazing amount of knowledge about the game. I guess we've got a lot of similarities in the way we want to play. I had a great relationship with Mickey and I still do. The people who know Darren and know me know we were very close when we were playing as well.

"There's no doubt the boys have handled what's happened over the past month as well as they possibly could I think our momentum is slowly building. I think our performance in both four-dayers, there are a lot of positives to take out of both games. We're just about ready to play this first Test."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Chandran on July 8, 2013, 16:14 GMT

    I thought Clarke had resigned as a selector! His very biased comments are insulting to others in the squad. Warner should have been sent home after the bar incident Instead it is now being made to look like all he had to do was wait for the tests to begin to walk into the team! Looks like preparation and match practice is not needed for this a"genius", even when he has hardly made a run in the last few months in any form of cricket. Maybe Clarke should get the "Arthur" treatment and be suspended for the next test. He was instrumental in getting rid of Simon Katich, who was rewarded for 3 consequetive years of being the highest scoring Australian batsman by being dropped and not given a contract. He also tried to "break down" Watson ( which he did after bowling 43 overs in the Hobart test against Sri Lanka) and now looks like he is trying to choose only those in his clicque. Australian cricket is in a mess and Clarke is doing his best to make matters worse

  • H on July 8, 2013, 14:56 GMT

    @Meety As for Swann, there's no way he's in the class of Warne and he'd be the first to admit that. Warne, however, has himself made the comparison in one respect; how much of a rip Swann gives it. Finger spinners conventionally don't, Swann does and I've heard Warne himself comment on how that reminds him of how he bowled. Obviously Swann's not got the variation or skill of Warne. While Murali may have taken more wickets, I've always rated Warne as a better bowler.

    He and Anderson do perform a similar *role* for England as Warne and McGrath, but that's as far as I'd take the comparison. Warne and McGrath were legendary, Anderson and Swann aren't.

  • H on July 8, 2013, 14:52 GMT

    @Meety think the issue with Anderson is that his career figures don't stack up but they're slightly skewed by a pretty awful start to his career. He's taken 307 wickets at 30 and a s/r of 58 but the last 151 of those have come at 25.3 and a strike rate of 56.5. Not McGrath calibre, obviously, but for all the people saying Siddle's stats are better, his 150 wickets have come at 28.84 and a strike rate of 57.6.

    Jimmy's early start (Test debut at 20) definitely harmed his stats but has probably been a big learning experience and contributed to the bowler he is today. And yes, I know Pattinson started at 21, but he's a phenomenal talent, and apart from FFL, few English fans have denied that.

    I agree about Siddle v Anderson. I rate Siddle very highly, he may not be as exciting as Pattinson, but I'd say right now he's just as important to your attack. He doesn't let up, keeps coming at the batsman, and gets wickets through sheer force of will. There's something so very "Aussie" about him.

  • Andrew on July 7, 2013, 23:44 GMT

    @H_Z_O on (July 7, 2013, 9:00 GMT) - Anderson (IMO) is a puzzling player. I have thought for a long time that he has poor body language when playing. In 10/11, he always looked like he was about 10 minutes from dehydration & I felt that if we could save wickets, we'd beat him. Like a mad fool, I kept thinking that right up to & including the Sydney & Melbourne tests - LOL! His surrender never happenned! I think this will be the series that will define who he is as a player. Stat-wise - Anderson would barely make the top 20 English bowlers since WWII, but his worth to England for durability & consistancy is pretty high. I think most Ozzys don't rate him too high because he & Swann were compared to (sort of considered the equal of) McGrath & Warne. I know that annoyed the cud out of me. I am looking forward to Anderson v Siddle, it will probably go a long way to deciding the series.

  • Saransh on July 7, 2013, 17:06 GMT

    @Someguy: Mayte, I agree with your views completely, BUT, Mr.Nathan Lyon has proved himself, in India, where the ball turns a MILE, with novice batsmen like Shikhar Dhawan and Murali Vijay posting him into the stands in his opening spell.

    As far as the over rate is concerned, yes, that would be a problem, if Clarkey, Smith and Warner won't chip in with some overs. Let's face it, Australia do not have a Spinner, forget Quality Spinner. So why not invest in what we have, one of the finest pace attacks. Pattinson, Starc, Sido, Bird, Faulkner, Watto. That sounds intimidating on paper itself.

    The only problem here would be the just concluded Champions Trophy. BCCI and India made a joke out of it and the ECB let them, by providing SQUARE TURNERS to play in "England". So if they wickets are still RUINED, they will have to drop one of the pacemen and accommodate Mr.Lyon.

    I hope that after the disgraceful Champions Trophy, the trend is not followed and cricket is played on genuine tracks.

  • H on July 7, 2013, 9:00 GMT

    @Meety pretty much exactly as I see it. I'd say your quicks are better than ours as a whole, but I'd probably put Anderson above your seamers based on his track record (you may disagree but you're an Aussie and I'm an England fan so we're bound to!). Broad and Finn are hit and miss, much like your guys, but I feel like the upside with your boys is bigger. Pattinson's a demon and if he stays fit he does have the chance to take over Steyn's crown at the top of the tree. Starc just needs to find his length. Think it's tricky for him being a swing bowler but being 6'5", does he bowl back of a length or fuller? But when he finds it, he tends to take wickets in clusters.

    As for Compton, you're preaching to the choir. Then again, as I read on here earlier (I'd forgotten), Bairstow got 95 and 45 against Steyn and Morkel so he might do ok. Besides, if you're right about your lot being better with the older ball maybe it's a good idea to let Root face the new one ;). Looking forward to it now.

  • Russell on July 7, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Makes a mockery of warm up matches to put Warner straight into the starting eleven. The fact is Warner is a mediocre test player and, it seems, a pretty average human being. Should have been sent home for punching Root. Actually I hope he does get a game because the crowds are going to tear him to shreds. And Aussie fans - all this Cowan vs Warner vs Khawaja vs Smith debate is pointless. Face it - these guys are all walking wickets

  • Peter on July 7, 2013, 4:49 GMT

    hyclass - agree with you mate - Bird is a wicket taker and he must play along with Pattinson and Starc. The obvious weak link is Lyon - unfortunately he is our best choice for the 1st test. But if he gets flogged in test 1, I would give him one more chance then replace him with the gelatinous substance.

  • Peter on July 7, 2013, 4:45 GMT

    Warner should be iin the top 6 because he is more likely to win us a game than is Cowan or Khawaja. Forget about defence - we have to be aggressive to win - otherwise it is all over red rover.

  • Andrew on July 7, 2013, 3:22 GMT

    @ H_Z_O on (July 6, 2013, 10:15 GMT) - well I did think that Oz would beat India inIndia - so I am not sure how sensible I am - must of just got lucky - lol! Patto & Starc have amazing POTENTIAL, but that needs to be converted into ACTUAL results sustained over time - ala Steyn. Like most Ozzys - I think our pacers are better than England IF ( a big IF), they play near their POTENTIAL. I am not sue that I have seen enuff to suggest that they will deliver - although, I am quietly confident (hopeful?) that our seamers have an extra gear they haven't swiched into. I have been surprised that the vast majority of our wickets have come with an aging ball. That suggests that we will always be close to taking a wicket, but I would want more inroads made in the first 10 to 15 overs than what we are doing atm. I really do think England should of played Compton in the first 2 Tests as opener - too much too soon on Root!

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