The Investec Ashes 2013

I needed to be dropped - Warner

Brydon Coverdale in Hove

July 25, 2013

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David Warner goes back to cut, South Africa A v Australia A, 1st unofficial Test, Pretoria, 1st day, July 24, 2013
David Warner is grateful for the chance to get some game time in South Africa © Getty Images
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David Warner has admitted he needed the "kick up the bum" of being suspended and ultimately dropped from Australia's Test side after his punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham pub. Warner's ban over the incident cost him his place in the first two Investec Tests at Trent Bridge and Lord's but he is firmly back in contention for a recall in the third Test at Old Trafford after his 193 during the ongoing match against South Africa A in Pretoria.

Warner was sent on the Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa after being left out of the Trent Bridge Test as the Australian camp sought a way to get him some game time following his suspension. His punch at Root on a night out during the Champions Trophy ultimately led to the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, but for Warner personally, losing his place in the national side after playing 19 consecutive Tests was a wake-up call.

"Sitting on the sidelines and copping that punishment and not being selected it was a thing that I needed," Warner said from South Africa. "I definitely needed a kick up the bum. It was my own fault the incident that happened. My job was then to support our players, support the rest of the group and do everything I could to help them prepare for the games. I did that and I know the other guys on the tour did the same thing. We've all been working very hard."

Warner's partnership with Ed Cowan at the top of Australia's Test order appears to have been permanently split, with Cowan having been dropped after the loss in Nottingham. If Warner returns at Old Trafford it will likely be at No.6, although his heavy scoring against South Africa A - 193 from 226 deliveries - came at No.4.

Although his scoring rate was typically quick, Warner impressed by surviving for more than five hours at the crease in Pretoria, against a South Africa A attack boasting the extremely promising pace pairing of Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange. His 193 was not his highest first-class score but it was his longest stay at the crease in quite some time, after a lean few months in all formats.

"I set myself a goal of wanting to bat three hours out there," Warner said. "I batted an hour in Zimbabwe and I decided here I'd just come in and be positive from the start and when the ball was there to hit, I hit it. That's how I played and it came off.

"I hadn't really played for about 40 days so with no cricket under my belt I was fortunate enough to be sent here and get some game time in. I know I would have had to wait until after the first two Tests to get any game time over there otherwise."

Had he stayed in England, Warner's first opportunity for some time in the middle would have come in the tour match against Sussex, which begins in Hove on Friday. Warner's innings means that Phillip Hughes and Steven Smith especially will be under pressure to post decent scores against Sussex in the lead-up to the Manchester Test.

One man who won't be scoring any runs in Sussex is Shane Watson, who has stayed in London along with some other members of the squad to train ahead of the third Test. Watson was the subject of a Twitter rant from David Warner's brother Steve during the Lord's Test, but Warner said he had nothing but support for Watson.

"A hundred percent. I get along with Shane very well," he said. "I thoroughly enjoy batting with Shane, I know what he does for the team and I know what a team player he is, not just on the field but in and around the group how he supports the guys. He's fantastic."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

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Posted by nigelramcat on (July 27, 2013, 2:58 GMT)

Warner did OKAY but so did ELGAR - lets be realistic! The batting paradise does not mean Warner should be in the Ashes team. FLAT TRACK BULLY???

Posted by salazar555 on (July 27, 2013, 1:42 GMT)

Warner's knock was on an absolute road and he was playing no spinners. Quite a few players got big scores in that game. If he thinks old trafford will be a road he's in for a shock. It swings and spins in Manchester so it's going to be a test for any batsman, if you don't play spin or swing well then forget it.

Posted by 2MikeGattings on (July 26, 2013, 23:54 GMT)

Warner has the best Test average of anyone in the squad bar Clarke and with the side struggling for runs they can't afford to leave him out. He's a dangerous player but England will fancy their plan A against him. It will be a good contest.

His disciplinary record is already legendary. Surely a betting scandal cannot be far off.

Posted by KhanMitch on (July 26, 2013, 18:32 GMT)

Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Warner, Clarke, Smith as our top 6.

Posted by hycIass on (July 26, 2013, 16:50 GMT)

Well done to Warner but i wouldn't change the batting lineup yet. Rogers, Watson, Khawaja, Hughes, Clarke, Smith is fine for the Manchester test. Each has done enough to warrant their spot for the third test.

Posted by Beertjie on (July 26, 2013, 16:49 GMT)

Good comment @ Ameshisuto on (July 25, 2013, 23:06 GMT). Nevertheless, Australia need to show competitiveness now. The presence of 5 openers was always going to cause a problem which is exacerbated by the number of left-handers facing Swann on wearing wickets. That said, the best order seems to be Rogers, Warner, Khawaja, Clarke, Watson, Smith, Haddin, Siddle, Harris, Lyon, Bird. Warner as a later order bat will struggle facing Swann at OT. If he gets a start he'll do OK against him when he comes on. Watson has been practising better footwork against the England quicks, so give him a shot at #5. Hughes for Rogers at the top of the order is a possibility, but why continue to favour him when others haven't had opportunities? His test stats have been heading in the wrong direction for too long, so Rogers deserves another shot. Bird ahead of Starc is a tough call, but Harris and Siddle must play. Smith isn't great, but his spinners at OT may be OK. No instant solutions, just trial & errror

Posted by Paul_Rampley on (July 26, 2013, 16:32 GMT)

I wish warner all the best, he is a good batsman and will be stronger from the lessons he has learned. Tough one on who you drop, you would think that Watson, Rogers, Khawaja and Clarke are lock ins based on either runs in the Lords game or experience wise so that leaves Hughes and Smith as the guys whose spot he takes but i am not sure if i would drop those 2 as they have shown good form as well. I am happy i am not a selector.

Posted by Edwards_Anderson on (July 26, 2013, 15:51 GMT)

It's fair to assume the selectors had a long discussion about the batting lineup, and came to the conclusion that it was the best one available for the job. For that reason alone the Test team should stick with players on tour and have the coaches work with them to resolve technical and mental issues that are now so apparent. Players need to have some confidence in their position to perform without fear, which is why Lehmann came out and said what his opening partnership was going to be. It's wishful thinking to believe those not in the touring party are going to perform better immediately. Khawaja looked great in Lords and i would give him the full series. I would also stick with Smith and might consider Warner for Hughes and possibly Rogers. But show faith in our young batsman.

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Brydon CoverdaleClose
Brydon Coverdale Assistant Editor Possibly the only person to win a headline-writing award for a title with the word "heifers" in it, Brydon decided agricultural journalism wasn't for him when he took up his position with ESPNcricinfo in Melbourne. His cricketing career peaked with an unbeaten 85 in the seconds for a small team in rural Victoria on a day when they could not scrounge up 11 players and Brydon, tragically, ran out of partners to help him reach his century. He is also a compulsive TV game-show contestant and has appeared on half a dozen shows in Australia.
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