Australian opener David Warner is not thinking about a Test retirement, according to head coach Andrew McDonald. Warner had said last month that he was not going to play the longest format after one year, hinting at a possible retirement. However, his experience is crucial for Australia’s tour of India early next year.
He’s also expected to play his 100th Test starting Boxing Day against South Africa, and the last Test of the series at his home ground at the SCG just after that. It could prove to be something of a fitting send-off, but McDonald was confident of Warner extending his Test cricket beyond the home summer.
Commenting on Warner’s recent form, McDonald said that the southpaw has found different ways of getting out.
“He’s eager to continue on at this stage. He has not hinted [at] anything else,” McDonald said. “His appetite for the work – in and around training – is still there. He’s busy at the crease, and you’ve seen signs that he is going well. He’s just found different ways to get out, and sometimes that can happen.
“We are building towards a World Test Championship [final], and he wants to be part of that. So that’s a clear focus for us, and we’ve got South Africa as a part of that. And then on to India.”
In the recent series against West Indies, where other Australian batters scored heavily against a listless bowling attack Warner could only manage to score 102 runs at an average of 25.50.
The 36-year-old has failed to shine in Test cricket in recent times as he has scored only 675 runs at an average of 28.12 in 25 Test innings since his last century in January 2020. Pressure has increased on the southpaw, with speculation building on his Test career ahead of tough tours of India and England next year, where he doesn’t have great records.
He’s firmly in our thoughts for India: Andrew McDonald
Despite his low returns with the bat, coach McDonald feels Warner is set for his third Test tour of India, where he has never scored a century, and averages just 24 from 16 innings. And his wealth of experience is seen as important for a team likely to boast several batters who have never played Test cricket there.
“We’ll see what happens in the next three Test matches. But at this stage, he’s firmly in our thoughts for India,” McDonald said. “We’ve seen the more times you tour certain areas of the world, the better you get at it.
“But it’s also the knowledge that he can pass on to the younger players in and amongst that. We really value our senior players – both on and off the field – in terms of that education process. So there’s a huge benefit for those players to be touring those areas, and albeit if they don’t play, they can still have an impact,” the Australian coach added.