Veteran batter David Warner can turn around a run of indifferent form to claim a spot in Australia’s starting XI at the World Test Championship Final, according to New Zealand great Ross Taylor.
Warner has been backed to rediscover his top form during a stint with Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League and push for selection with Australia for the WTC Final at The Oval in England.
The 36-year-old plundered a rousing double ton in the most recent Boxing Day Test against South Africa but made only 26 runs in three innings in the red-ball series in India that followed.
Warner left Australia's tour of India early after suffering a concussion and a fractured elbow in the second Test, but has now recovered in time to captain Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
Travis Head impressed as an opener in two Tests in Warner’s absence, but the veteran has been backed to reclaim a spot at the top of the order alongside Usman Khawaja for the WTC Final.
David Warner becomes only the second batter to score a double hundred in their 100th Test 🙌— ICC (@ICC) December 27, 2022
Watch #AUSvSA LIVE on https://t.co/CPDKNxoJ9v (in select regions) 📺#WTC23 | 📝 https://t.co/FKgWE9jUq4 pic.twitter.com/lXfn50rf5C
“Davey's played a lot of cricket, over 100-odd Test matches. You give these guys a little bit more leeway than you would a youngster,” Taylor said.
“He's been playing cricket all over the world and has had success, and I am sure this Australia team would back him.
“If he can score some runs and lead from the front for Delhi, I am sure that would give him a lot of confidence leading into the WTC Final and the Ashes as well.”
Warner has found English conditions particularly testing in the past, and compiled only 95 runs in 10 innings during the most recent Ashes campaign there in 2019.
But the left-hander is unlikely to have much time to prepare in England conditions ahead of the WTC Final, with Warner among a host of Australia and India players to have IPL commitments that could stretch as far as the final scheduled for 28 May.
The WTC Final will start shortly after on 7 June, leaving little time for the two teams and many of their players to prepare for the red-ball format.
“That week or so that both teams have before that Test match is going to be key,” Taylor said.
“Especially when you come from the T20 format into Test cricket, there is an adjustment.
“But players are quite used to making that adjustment quite quickly now.”
Australia will play an Ashes series in England in the months after the WTC Final in what looms as a pivotal period for what has so far proven to be the top team of the current WTC cycle.
The most recent Ashes series in England ended in a 2-2 draw from the five Tests, while Australia triumphed 4-0 from the same number of matches at home in 2021/22.
A first Ashes series victory in England since 2001 would be an obvious goal for this Australia team, and Taylor warns that it could prove to be a distraction around the WTC Final.
“Australia will have an eye on the Ashes series,” Taylor said.
“Their main objective would obviously be to win that (WTC Final) Test match, but consciously or subconsciously they would have an eye on the Ashes.”