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News

Taylor: 'Selectors should stick with Warner for WTC final and first Two Ashes Tests'

The former Australia captain urges the selectors to opt for Bancroft or Renshaw as the back-up opener

AAP
18-Apr-2023
David Warner had a torrid run during the recent series in India  •  Getty Images

David Warner had a torrid run during the recent series in India  •  Getty Images

Mark Taylor reckons David Warner should be given three Tests to fight for his spot in England, while urging Australia's selectors to make Cameron Bancroft or Matt Renshaw the next opener in line.
Selectors are expected to name a squad for the World Test Championship final against India and the Ashes this week, with the focus firmly on the top of the order.
Warner is expected to be named in that squad and picked for the WTC final at The Oval on June 7 before the Ashes begin, returning from an elbow injury that cut short his India Test tour.
The heat remains on the opener to produce runs early in England. Warner's double century against South Africa at the MCG last December is his sole triple-figure score in 32 innings, while he averaged 9.50 on the last Ashes tour in 2019.
But Taylor, who will be in England as part of the Nine Network's Ashes broadcast, believes Warner should play in the first two Tests against England if selectors pick him to face India.
"If I am reading the tea leaves right, it sounds like they will stick with David for the World Test Championship at The Oval," the former Test captain told AAP. "And if that's the way Australia are thinking about the World Test Championship, then yes, they have to start with him for the Ashes.
"It would be very hard to have Usman Khawaja and Warner open the batting and then change a week later for the first Test at Edgbaston. Whoever they think is our best opening combination for the World Test Championship, should do the first three Tests of the summer."
The selectors have previously indicated they will break the English summer into two blocks of three Tests, with the squad to be re-evaluated after the second Ashes Test at Lord's.
Taylor is also adamant the selectors should opt for Bancroft or Renshaw as the back-up opener ahead of Marcus Harris. Harris was handed a national contract ahead of the two, despite the Victorian not playing a Test for 15 months.
Chief selector George Bailey indicated at the time that Harris is seen as a preferred back-up option outside of the subcontinent, with Renshaw's recent Tests on spinning wickets.
Bancroft has not played a Test match since the 2019 Ashes, but was the leading run-scorer in this summer's Sheffield Shield with 945 at an average of 59.06. But Taylor said he was surprised by the selectors' contract call earlier this month.
"My old way of thinking, I always like a right-and-left-hander combination. So I would love to see Cameron Bancroft get another opportunity at the top of the order," he said. "I see Renshaw has been making runs in New Zealand [for Australia A], but Bancroft has made a heap of runs in the Australian summer.
"One thing I do like about Bancroft, which I also like about Renshaw, is their ability to catch in the field. In the next year or two, we're going to need to find two openers. The one thing that has worried me about Marcus Harris is his fielding.
"The way this series is looking like panning out, fielding is going to be crucial. I think that will go against someone like a Marcus Harris, whose fielding is not great."