World Test Championship

Australian legend tips Warner for WTC final and early Ashes push

WTC23 final

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Former Australian captain Mark Taylor believes David Warner will get the nod for the WTC23 final at The Oval in June despite his lean red-ball form.

The former opener feels Australia will put their faith in the fellow left-hander who found his mojo with a double century against South Africa at the Boxing Day Test, though struggled in Australia's away series defeat to India.

Outside of his even 200 against the Proteas late last year, he has failed to reach fifty in the last 18 Test innings, and also averaged just 9.50 on the last Ashes tour in 2019.

Taylor feels Australia's selectors, tipped to name a squad for the WTC final and the first two Ashes Tests this week, will stick with the 36-year-old.

"If I am reading the tea leaves right, it sounds like they will stick with David for the World Test Championship (final) at The Oval," the former Test captain told AAP.

"And if that's the way Australia are thinking about the World Test Championship, then yes, they have to start with him for the Ashes."

Australia staff have hinted the squad will be re-evaluated after the Lord's Test beginning on 28 June.

Warner in the meantime has kept his eye in through white-ball, scoring 228 runs across five innings at the IPL, though his Delhi Capitals are still winless in 2023.

Taylor feels Warner and Usman Khawaja will be the pair to walk out for Australia come 7 June for the final, though wants a right/left-hand combination in the future to ask more questions of opposition bowling attacks. Cameron Bancroft, who enjoyed a fruitful Australian domestic summer, may be the man to step up should a change be made.

"It would be very hard to have Usman Khawaja and Warner open the batting and then change a week later for the first Test at Edgbaston.

"My old way of thinking, I always like a right and left-hander combination. So I would love to see Cameron Bancroft get another opportunity at the top of the order," he said.

"I see (Matt) Renshaw has been making runs in New Zealand (for Australia A), but Bancroft has made a heap of runs in the Australian summer."

Marcus Harris too has put his name forward off the back of consistent runs across domestic cricket in Australia and in the UK, most recently making a second-innings century for Gloucestershire against Glamorgan.

Taylor thinks Harris' flow of runs puts him in the discussion, though Bancroft and Renshaw as better in other facets, mainly in the field.

"One thing I do like about Bancroft, which I also like about Renshaw, is their ability to catch in the field. In the next year or two, we're going to need to find two openers. The one thing that has worried me about Marcus Harris is his fielding.

"The way this series is looking like panning out, fielding is going to be crucial. I think that will go against someone like a Marcus Harris, whose fielding is not great."


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