Australia Test opener David Warner has suggested his finger injury could be a blessing in disguise, despite it disrupting his preparation for the upcoming Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka.
Warner was ruled out of Australia’s recent one-day international tri-series in the Caribbean after copping a blow to his left index finger while fielding in St Kitts.
While the 29-year-old hasn’t been able to get in the nets for a hit since returning to Australia, he isn’t worried about going into the Sri Lanka tour with a lack of practice under his belt.
“I’ve done that before where I’ve picked up the bat and gone back out there and tried to play my best and sometimes it comes off,” Warner said in Sydney on Friday.
“I always want time in the nets, (but) I’ve said in the past for me less is more. I prefer to go into a lot of games fresh, I don’t usually hit a lot before heading into any series of games.
“I’ll definitely look to have a hit when I get to Sri Lanka after the intra-squad game and test to see if I’ll be all right for the first-class game.”
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It’s a situation Warner’s dealt with before.
In the ODI series that followed last year’s Ashes, a rearing delivery from England paceman Steven Finn struck him on the hand, with scans revealing a broken thumb.
The blow ruled Warner out of Australia’s squad for their (eventually postponed) tour of Bangladesh later that year and he faced a race against time to be fit for the first Test of Australia’s home summer against New Zealand.
He ultimately recovered in time to face the Kiwis at the Gabba, with the layoff seemingly having little effect on the powerful opener as he struck centuries in both innings, before blasting 253, his highest Test score, in the next Test in Perth.
Warner continued his strong form through the 2016 Indian Premier League and then in the West Indies tri-series, having hit 109 earlier in the match where he broke his finger.
“I broke my finger after the (2015) Ashes before and I found the eight weeks off did freshen me up,” he said.
“It’s never a thing you want, to be forced to rest, but some things come at a good time. I feel this has come at a good time as well.
“I’d love to be playing and continue my form I had with the bat, but credit to the team they went out and won the final in the West Indies and now it’s off to Sri Lanka for the Test matches.
“I’ll be doing everything I can to play the warm-up games.”
Australia have two warm-up fixtures, a two-day game in Colombo followed by a three-day match with first-class status in Kandy.
Bupa Support Team Head Coach Darren Lehmann said while Warner could be ready to play the second of those tour matches, he’d have no hesitation in selecting his opener for the first Test should he miss both warm-up games.
"He probably won't play the two-day game but should play the first-class game – the tour game before we play the first Test," Lehmann told Fairfax Media on Thursday.
"Even if he didn't, I am not too worried about that. He is one of these guys who picks up a bat quite quickly.
“He has had broken fingers and injuries before and we have just plugged him back into Test cricket and he is fine."
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And while Lehmann is confident he’ll be ready to face the new ball for the first Test in Kandy, Warner himself is more concerned with making sure he’ll be able to take up his position in Australia’s slip-cordon.
“The biggest thing for myself is the fielding aspect,” he said. “I field in the slips so I’ll need to take a handful of catches there to make sure it’s nice and warm.
“I can’t bend (my finger) yet, that’s through the doctor telling me not to, but I will be able to move it a lot more when I straighten it out and take the tape off.”
The Australia Test squad depart for Sri Lanka on Saturday.