Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Ponting backs Warner for shot at Ashes redemption
Former captain Ricky Ponting says despite Warner's poor record in England he can play on until next UK tour with opener hitting the peak of his powers
Martin Smith at the Adelaide Oval
1 December 2019, 10:14 AM AEST
Test great Ricky Ponting says David Warner can "absolutely" play on until Australia's next Ashes tour in 2023 but doesn't believe the opener's poor record in England will be the major motivating factor if he decides to extend his Test career.
Warner's return to Test cricket this year after a 12-month ban has been one of contrasts, from the low of an Ashes campaign that saw him average less than 10, to his record-breaking score of 335 not out in Adelaide on Saturday, his second century in a row.
The left-hander's batting average from 40 home Tests now stands at 66.46 and he's one of only three men in the history of the game, along with Sir Donald Bradman and Sir Garfield Sobers, to have scored more than 4,000 runs at home and average more than 65.
However, his record in both England (average of 26.04 from 13 Tests) and India (24.25 from eight Tests) drags his overall mark down below 50, and 17 of his 23 Test hundreds have come in Australia.
Warner will be 36 by the time Australia are next due to tour India (in late 2022) and England (in 2023), and Ponting can see no reason why the opener can't return to the UK for a fourth Ashes tour.
Although, as Warner himself pondered on Saturday night, Ponting believes the left-hander might have to give up another form of the game in order to prolong his Test career.
"Absolutely," Ponting told cricket.com.au when asked if Warner could play in the 2023 Ashes.
"Physically he's fine and we're seeing now that he's batting as well as ever. Most batsmen don't come into their prime until their early 30s, which is where's he's sitting now.
"But time will tell. These guys play a lot of cricket these days; he's always going to play in the IPL and he's got other T20 tournaments around the world, and he plays all three forms of the game for Australia.
"The longevity side of things probably gets a little bit harder for the modern player. I played until I was 38 but there was no T20 cricket really, so I was able to freshen myself up and get myself ready for one-dayers and Test cricket.
"If that's a goal of Davey's, to maximise his Test career, then he might have to give something up along the way in a couple of years' time.
"He's on record as saying Test cricket is his favourite game and the game he wants to be remembered for playing well.
"Let's see how he goes in the next couple of years, but right now he looks fantastic."
Speaking after play on Saturday, Warner conceded "something's going to have to give" in his schedule if he wants to prolong his career but added he hasn't yet decided what that will be.
"I really haven't put any thought into what I'll do first, whether it's give away Twenty20 internationals to free up time for the Test matches," he said.
"I think that will probably come around the corner after next year's (T20) World Cup, I might have to think about it. I think there's a World Cup six months after that as well.
"Something's going to have to give, and it's also another opportunity for a youngster to come through."
Ponting noted the fact Warner's Ashes tormentor Stuart Broad – who will be 37 in 2023 – is unlikely to be part of England's squad for that series would help the Australian improve his record in the UK and maybe even breakthrough for his first Test ton on English soil.
But he said improving his own statistics wouldn't be Warner's only motivation for extending his Test career.
"You don't need to motivate Davey," he said. "He's very self-motivated and works hard on his game.
"He just wants to be the best player he can be and more importantly, do whatever he can to win games for his team.
"He's the sort of bloke you want to have in your team and go into battle with. And he's proven that over the last couple of weeks."
Domain Test Series v Pakistan
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Joe Burns, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner
Pakistan squad: Azhar Ali (c), Abid Ali, Asad Shafiq, Babar Azam, Haris Sohail, Imam-ul-Haq, Imran Khan Snr, Iftikhar Ahmed, Kashif Bhatti, Mohammad Abbas, Mohammad Rizwan (wk), Musa Khan, Naseem Shah, Shaheen Shah Afridi, Shan Masood, Yasir Shah.
First Test: Australia won by an innings and five runs.