Australian batsman David Warner has conceded it is “highly doubtful” he’ll be at 100 per cent fitness for the New Year’s Test match at the SCG.
Warner sustained a groin injury during the one-day series against India, and subsequently missed the opening two matches of the Border-Gavaskar Trophy.
National selectors will be desperate for the 34-year-old to rejoin the starting XI after Australia’s pitiful batting performance at the MCG last week, which prompted the swift axing of struggling batsman Joe Burns.
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But speaking to reporters on Saturday morning, Warner admitted that if he is selected for the SCG Test, there will almost certainly be limitations on what his body can do.
“I’ve got a training session today and tomorrow,” Warner said. “Today and tomorrow will probably give me a better indication of where I am.
“Am I going to be 100 per cent? Highly doubtful, but I’ll be doing everything I can to get on that park and play. And even if that means I’m not at 100 per cent, I’ll be doing everything I can to let the selectors give me that green light.”
Warner averages 66.54 with the bat at the SCG, pummelling four centuries in eight Test matches at the iconic venue.
If the left-hander is unavailable for the New Year’s fixture, it leaves the door open for Victorian batsman Marcus Harris to play his first Test match since the 2019 Ashes series.
Alternatively, national selectors may consider giving batting prodigy Will Pucovski an opportunity to make his Test debut in Sydney.
Pucovski has been out of action since he was struck in the head by a bouncer during last month’s tour match against India A at Drummoyne Oval.
Warner believes his fielding may determine whether or not national selectors give him the green light to play in Sydney next week.
“If I feel like I can do my duties, whether it’s stand in the slips cordon, take catches to my right and left, not be a hindrance … that’s where it’s going to determine whether I do play or not,” Warner said.
“It’s whether or not that I’m able to have that capacity of catching the balls left and right of myself.
“I’ve got to be agile enough to make sure I’m taking those chances, because if I’m not, given that 50 per cent of the time we’re out on the field, I don’t want to be dropping those chances.”
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The New South Wales batsman has had to adjust his batting technique because the lunging motion is still taxing, which ironically proved a beneficial adjustment.
“Batting in the nets the other day, it probably actually helped me,” Warner said with a smirk. “I had to wait for the ball to be in my actual area, didn’t have to throw my hands at it. It actually made me play nice and tight.
“There’s some restrictions here and there, but … when you get into the game, adrenaline takes over as well.
“For me, it’s about my speed between wickets, that’s all that matters. It doesn’t matter about what shots I can and can’t play. It’s about the drop and run, helping the other guy at the other end get off strike.
“They’re the things that I work on, and they’re the things that I’d like to be 100 per cent fit for … I’m going to try to work out myself in the nets how I’m going to manage that, and that’s the most important thing.”
The third Test between Australia and India is scheduled to commence on Thursday, January 7th.