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Paine backs Warner to fire early in Test summer
Skipper says opener 'has enough credits in the bank' as batting contenders target pivotal early rounds of Sheffield Shield cricket
30 September 2019, 08:52 PM AEST
Captain Tim Paine has backed David Warner to return to his best Test form, all but confirming the left-hander will open the batting in the first Test of the summer.
Warner is set to return to the Sheffield Shield next month for the first time in almost two years, having been rested from the early rounds of the domestic season following the Ashes in England.
After he returned to international cricket with a barnstorming World Cup campaign, Warner averaged just 9.50 in five Ashes Tests as Stuart Broad dominated their individual battle.
But Paine says Warner, who averages almost 60 in Test cricket in Australia compared to 34 abroad, has a record hard to ignore.
"I think he is," Paine told 7News when asked if the 32-year-old is guaranteed to play the first Test of the summer, against Pakistan at the Gabba on November 21-25.
"I think he’s got enough credits in the bank.
"We know how good a player he is.
"Opening the batting in England can be really difficult, particularly if you’re a left-hander and Stuart Broad’s bowling at you.
"That was a difficult period for David (but) the way he was around our group as a senior player was outstanding.
"It’s easy to do that when you’re going well but to have him still upbeat and still pushing others to get better when he was going through a rough patch himself was great to see."
Despite Australia retaining the Ashes urn in England for the first time in 18 years, their batting line-up for the home summer is far from settled, meaning there will be extra weight on runs scored in the early rounds of the Marsh Sheffield Shield.
Steve Smith, Marnus Labuschagne and Matthew Wade were the only Australian batsmen to make any solid contributions in England, meaning Ashes tourists like Warner, Marcus Harris, Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, Cameron Bancroft and Mitchell Marsh will all be desperate for solid contributions early in the Shield season.
The likes of Joe Burns, Kurtis Patterson, Will Pucovski and Peter Handscomb, who were all late omissions from the Ashes squad, could force their way back into Test calculations with solid starts to the red-ball portion of the summer.
It sets up a mouth-watering start to the Shield season on October 10, headlined by a clash at the Gabba between Queensland – featuring Khawaja, Labuschagne and Burns – against a NSW Blues side that is expected to feature the likes of Warner and Smith as well as bowling stars Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Mitchell Starc and Nathan Lyon.
All matches of the Marsh Sheffield Shield can be live streamed for FREE on cricket.com.au and the CA Live app