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How Warner's inclusion can turn Australia's fortunes

David Warner
David Warner

Australia are set to replace both their openers, Matthew Wade and Joe Burns, for the third test of the four-match series against India at Sydney.

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Even an 80% fit Warner is lethal

"I'll be doing everything I can to get on that park and play even if that means I'm not 100%," Warner said in a chat with the media. "It's about being smart on this occasion. If I feel like I can do my duties, whether it's standing in the slips cordon, taking catches to my right and left…think that's where it will determine whether I do play or not."

To begin with, the good thing is that everything is out there in the open. It is not as if Warner is trying to get into the Australian XI by concealing the state of his fitness. He knows that he has not yet fully recovered from the groin injury he sustained in the ODIs against India preceding the test series, the Australian team management knows it, and the media knows it.

But, does he really need to be 100% fit?

However, there is always the question of whether you actually need to be 100 percent fit to be part of a test match. Take the fast bowlers for example, more often than not, they are carrying a niggle or two. It is about managing the body.

Likewise, in the case of David Warner, he can sense that it is a crucial juncture in the series, with it tied at 1-1 and Australia need him at the top of the order. This is why, it is more than likely for Warner to be out on the field come January 7 at Sydney even when he is not 100% fit.

He had a net session on Saturday, January 2, and did middle some balls. At the same time, he did not look his normal self as he continued to wince and stretch. It may not seem that big an issue, but the body language and being at 100 percent fitness is a big thing for a player like David Warner, especially while batting.

It is not only his batting but his entire personality which he tries to impose on the opposition. The quick calling between the wickets, the drop and run and his entire body language is what is formidable. If he feels the slightest discomfort while running quick singles and doubles, which are the trademark of a David Warner knock in test cricket, or is not comfortable while moving in the field, he would think twice before making himself available for the Sydney test.

At the moment though, it seems that he is happy where he is at with his fitness. The opener knows he might not be 100 percent, but his fitness is still serviceable.

Bull's formidable record at home

David Warner did not have a great Ashes 2019 upon his return to international cricket post his ball-tampering ban, but as soon as he arrived on home soil, he showed his capability with a brilliant triple century against a hapless Pakistan bowling attack.

As opposed to his average of 34.50 away, he averages 65.94 at home, having scored 18 centuries and 12 half-centuries which further strengthens his case for the Sydney test, especially when Australia are looking at sea.

 Left-right combination intact

In Joe Burns and Matthew Wade, Australia had a right-left combination going for them in the first two test matches of the series. Burns has not been included in the squad for the remaining two matches and it is clear that he will not be part of the playing XI.

At the same time, Matthew Wade is expected to drop down in the middle order to make way for Will Pwoski. Hence, Australia will still have the luxury of a right-hand left-hand combination, which is more crucial than it seems.

It is not easy for bowlers to change their line and lengths often and results in a few loose balls, which the batsmen can capitalise on. At the same time, the swing is blunted. All the Indian right-arm bowlers, especially when bowling over the wicket, are able to do is to angle the ball away from the left-hander, which makes it easier for him to score.

Warner, as we all know, can also step up the run scoring and transfer the pressure back on the Indian bowlers, which Aussie batsmen have been unable to do till now.

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