Qantas Tour of NZ 2018

No rest for marathon man Warner

Australia's stand-in skipper set to build on his incredible record of durability through T20I tri-series

Louis Cameron, Sydney

02 February 2018, 05:38 PM

Finch out, Warner tells new crop to play natural

Stand-in T20 skipper David Warner admits there's "pros and cons" to the decision not to rest him for the upcoming Gillette tri-series with the opener's marathon stretch of games for Australia set to continue.

Due to the tight turnaround between the T20 series that kicks off Saturday and the upcoming Qantas Tour of South Africa, Warner is the only member of Australia's squad for the four-Test series against the Proteas who's also been named in the T20 squad.

Regular captain Steve Smith, along with Magellan Ashes-winning quicks Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc, began a two-and-a-half-week break following the final Gillette ODI against England. All four will sit out the remainder of the KFC BBL season and will miss the first JLT Sheffield Shield round after the break.

There will be no such rest for Warner, who has missed just five of Australia's 61 games across all formats since their 2016 Test tour of Sri Lanka; three T20s against Sri Lanka in February last year while he was preparing for the overlapping Test tour of India and two ODIs in New Zealand the month before.

Amongst all that, he also played his ninth consecutive Indian Premier League season during Cricket Australia's designated 'leave' period in April-May last year.

Over the same stretch of time since July 2016, Smith has not featured in just 11 matches for Australia while last year also playing his sixth straight IPL season.

Although Warner is likely to miss the Test squad's only tour match ahead of the South Africa tour on February 22 – even if Australia's T20 side misses the final of the tri-series, to be held in Auckland on February 21 – he brushed off concerns he'll be underdone against the red ball.

"It was a mixture of thoughts and opinions and pros and cons of me staying (on for the T20s)," Warner said.

"Given the nature of how big our summer has been and Smithy being captain, we've probably felt he probably needed that rest as well.

Aussie T20 squad sizzle reel: Chris Lynn

"(Before) a big series in South Africa, it allows the other guys the opportunity to freshen up and play well.

"Then I'll get my (break) at the back end where we've got a tour game in South Africa.

"I don't find it difficult at all to transform T20 (form) into the Tests. When I've had a bit of a break, it allows me enough time to prepare well for South Africa."

Australia could field as many as three T20I debutants in Saturday's tri-series opener against New Zealand at the SCG, with the 14-player squad featuring a host of BBL stars.

Former T20 skipper Aaron Finch and Glenn Maxwell are the other seasoned heads in the squad, with Warner suggesting the squad needs those type of experienced players if they want to climb up from their lowly ranking of seventh in the shortest format.

"It's a great opportunity to lead a younger team," the 31-year-old said. "Having experienced players be here with the team as well - you need some form of experience.

"It's going to be tough and challenging when you play all three forms but you're always … giving 100 per cent.

"With some new fresh faces with the guys who are in form and been selected to be here, it's exciting.

"I can't be any happier with the way we've prepared."

Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series

Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.

England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.

New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler. 

PM's XI v England Manuka Oval, February 2. Tickets

First T20I Australia v NZ, SCG, February 3. Tickets

Second T20I Australia v England, Blundstone Arena, February 7. Tickets

Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets

Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14

Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16

Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18

Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21