ICC Men's ODI World Cup 2019
Warner in, Aussies wait on final XI
Australia batsman clear to take on Afghanistan following fitness test in Bristol
Louis Cameron in Bristol
1 June 2019, 08:36 PM AEST
David Warner will play his first official game for Australia in over a year after overcoming a glute strain ahead of their World Cup opener against Afghanistan on Saturday.
Captain Aaron Finch on Friday confirmed Warner had been cleared to play after passing a fitness test at training the previous day, meaning Australia's 2015 World Cup-winning opening partnership will be reunited for the first game of their title defence in Bristol.
But Finch said Australia are yet to settle on an XI for the first game, with Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh jostling for the No.3 spot.
The reigning 50-over champions also haven’t made a call over the exact make-up of their bowling attack, with Finch indicating all their bowlers are in the mix.
"Davey's fine, he'll play tomorrow," Finch said on the eve of the match. "In terms of the XI, we'll wait until the toss to name it.
"It's always really tough early in the tournament especially when everyone is coming off really good form in the previous series we've played.
"Everyone's hitting the ball well in the nets, everyone is bowling well. It's a real positive – anytime anyone's been given an opportunity, everyone has taken it, which makes selection so hard, but it's a good position to be in all the same."
Along with Warner, the match will also be Steve Smith's first game back in Australian colours since last year's Cape Town scandal.
The in-form right-hander will fill out a middle order also featuring allrounders Marcus Stoinis and Glenn Maxwell.
The Aussies are set to wait to make a call on the final make-up of their bowling attack, though Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Adam Zampa would appear certainties to feature.
That would leave Nathan Coulter-Nile, Jason Behrendorff, Kane Richardson and Nathan Lyon fighting for one spot.
Finch flagged that all the squad members may see game time during the six-week long event.
"We travel around quite a bit with our games, it's about adapting to conditions and every player ... being ready to go at any stage," he said.
"The last World Cup we played, all 15 players were used and that wasn't as long a tournament as this is in terms of games played. It can change at the last minute depending on conditions."
Warner's return means splitting up the Finch-Khawaja union that has statistically proved Australia's most successful ever ODI opening partnership.
But Warner’s record is undeniable – he has scored 14 ODI tons (only Ricky Ponting, Mark Waugh and Adam Gilchrist have more among Australians), while averaging 43.43.
Finch, one ODI hundred behind Warner on 13, was optimistic either combination could work and that Khawaja was adaptable enough to move down to first drop.
"Dave and I have had a great partnership over the years. That was a pretty key part of our 2015 World Cup win," Finch explained.
"I've known them both (Khawaja and Warner) for a long time, I've batted with them both for a long time.
"Whichever way we decided to go with that, it didn't faze me either way. Davey's destructiveness in the power play is a huge reason why he's one of the best players in the world. When he gets in he can be so dominant on attacks.
"Usman or Shaun, whichever we go at three - Usman's the number three batter in Test cricket so there's no issues around whether he can do it. Shaun was very successful when he's done it over the last 12-18 months.
"We've got some great options there and we'll sit down this afternoon and nut that out.”
2019 World Cup
Australia's squad: Aaron Finch (c), Jason Behrendorff, Alex Carey (wk), Nathan Coulter-Nile, Pat Cummins, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Shaun Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa
May 22: (warm-up) Australia beat West Indies by seven wickets
May 25: (warm-up) Australia beat England by 12 runs
May 27: (warm-up) Australia beat Sri Lanka by five wickets
June 9: India v Australia, The Oval
June 12: Australia v Pakistan, Taunton
June 15: Sri Lanka v Australia, The Oval
June 20: Australia v Bangladesh, Trent Bridge
June 25: England v Australia, Lord's
July 9: Semi-Final 1, Old Trafford
July 11: Semi-Final 2, Edgbaston
July 14: Final, Lord's
For a full list of all World Cup fixtures, click HERE