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July 10, 2013
David Warner has paid a further price for his wayward behaviour earlier on the tour of England by being pulled out of the Ashes tour. He will instead go to South Africa with Australia A in order to gain match practice, the national selector John Inverarity has said.
Having decided not to play Warner in the first Test against England at Trent Bridge, the selectors have now added him to the A squad, though Inverarity suggested the left-hander may still return to England later in the series. But the decision flows on from Warner's suspension for punching the England opener Joe Root, something described as "a despicable thing" by the Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.
"David has trained hard and been very supportive of the team and his team-mates during the past few weeks, but his preparation for the first Test was not ideal," Inverarity said. "He is in need of match practice and runs in the longer format and the Australia A games in Zimbabwe and South Africa will provide him with the best possible opportunity.
"David remains a member of the Ashes Squad and will return to the England at an appropriate time once we're happy he has had adequate preparation in match conditions."
Australia's coach Darren Lehmann described Warner's situation as a "hard luck story". "While he has done everything right with training and preparation, his nets have been spectacular, he's done everything right around the group since his suspension, we can't pick him without any form in four-day cricket," he said. "That makes it a hard and a disappointing one for him. He took it hard but understood the reasons behind it when Rod Marsh spoke to him.
"We're confident he'll come back really well but for now, because he didn't get the games under his belt, we just feel like it's the best six [batsmen]. We want an in-form David Warner playing. Now the challenge is for him to keep working hard and get ready for the tour game, to play the right brand of cricket and get back in the Australian team. And the challenge for the top six is to perform well enough to keep him out."
The inclusion of Steve Smith and Ashton Agar in the team for Trent Bridge has also caused other changes to the Australia A squad. Aaron Finch has been promoted to captain the team, and Alex Doolan will be his deputy. Doolan, who has been playing in England, underwent fitness training at Trent Bridge on match eve by way of South Africa preparation.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets hereFeeds: Daniel Brettig
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