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The New Daily
Scott Bailey

David Warner in Ashes squad, but not locked in for Test selection

Veteran opener David Warner has been selected for Australia's start to the Ashes series in England. Photo: AAP

David Warner’s Ashes chances remain clouded, with selectors only guaranteeing the under-fire opener his spot for the World Test Championship final against India.

Warner was named on Wednesday in Australia’s 17-man squad for the showpiece match of the Test Championship at The Oval on June 7 and the first two Ashes Tests.

But long-running conjecture around his future is set to continue into the English summer, with Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw also named in the squad.

Warner was forced out of this year’s tour of India with a fractured elbow and there had been some suggestion he may have played his last Test for Australia.

But chief selector George Bailey confirmed on Wednesday Warner would return to open the batting against India, with Australia keen to take a settled squad into the final.

“The way we are looking at that is it’s a culmination of what’s been a pretty consistent two years,” Bailey said.

“It’s been a pretty similar team for a long period of time.

“We are confident that’s a team and that’s a makeup that can have success.”

Warner endured a dismal Ashes series in 2019, when he averaged 9.5 with the bat and was given a working over by Stuart Broad.

His most recent form at Test level is also a concern, with his double century against South Africa at the MCG last December his sole triple-figure score in 32 innings.

Former Test captain and opener Mark Taylor told AAP that Warner should be given until at least the second Test against England at Lord’s to show he should keep his spot.

But when asked on Wednesday if Warner was a lock to play in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston on June 16, Bailey would not commit.

“Not specifically to Dave, but we’ll just get through that Test Championship,” Bailey said.

“We’ll be planning behind the scenes, but we’ll have a look at what that looks like as we get there.

“Different opposition and different surface in terms of going from The Oval to start the Ashes. So we’ll work through that.”

Selectors will give themselves the freedom to change the squad after the second Ashes Test at Lord’s, breaking the tour into two blocks of three Tests.

Mitch Marsh was among the biggest winners on Wednesday after being recalled to the squad, with Bailey indicating he and Green could potentially co-exist in the same top-six.

Scott Boland is the sole back-up quick while Todd Murphy is the second spinner.

Cameron Bancroft can consider himself unlucky not to be selected as a back-up batsman, after being the leading run-scorer in the Sheffield Shield last summer.

Renshaw’s selection is also of note, suggesting he and Harris will be Australia’s openers once 36-year-olds Warner and Usman Khawaja finish.

Bailey suggested earlier this month Harris was the preferred option as the next batsman to come into the team in Tests outside of Asia.

But selectors are keen to keep Renshaw ready as a genuine option, with the 27-year-old not playing county cricket this year.

“It’s really tough for us to break into that team,” Renshaw said.

“It’s just if we do get an opportunity through injury, just try and take it. Whether it is middle order or top order … it’s try and take it and prove I should be the next one in line.”

Ashes squad

Pat Cummins (capt), Scott Boland, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitch Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, David Warner.


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