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ICC World Cup 2019 | Langer Frets Over Warner's Fitness Ahead of Opener

Cricketnext Staff |May 31, 2019, 6:10 PM IST
ICC World Cup 2019 | Langer Frets Over Warner's Fitness Ahead of Opener

Australian opener David Warner has been in sensational form since his return from a one year ban for ball-tampering. He ended up as the highest run-scorer in IPL-12 despite playing only 12 games — scoring 692 runs for Sunrisers Hyderabad with a century and eight fifties.

It’s no wonder that he slotted straight back into the national team and coach Justin Langer’s scheme of things. However, as the defending champions open their ICC World Cup campaign against Afghanistan in Bristol on Saturday, the team is fretting over the fitness of Warner as he has injured his glute muscles.

Coach Langer confirmed that Warner will open if fit, but he will need to come through more tests to take his place in the side.

“He was a bit sore on Wednesday. He’s just a bit sore in his right glute. He is desperate to play, he’d love to play like all 15 players would. He’s jumping out of his skin, his energy is up and he’s laughing a lot which is a good sign. He’s really keen but we’ve got to make sure he can move, particularly in the field,” Langer said after the practice session in Bristol on Thursday.

“What I’ve expressed to him is that it’s really important to be fair to the other players as well. We don’t want to get to Saturday morning then make a call with a couple of guys wondering if they are going to play. The earlier the better, he knows that and collectively we’re really strong on that,” the former Australia Test opener said.

“We’ve got to make sure we don’t aggravate it early in a long tournament. He will open the first game if he’s fit,” he added.

If Warner is available, Langer will have to choose between Usman Khawaja and Shaun Marsh for the final spot in the Australian XI, while both would play if the 32-year-old is not quite ready. The other selection quandary is in the bowling attack, where Pat Cummins and Mitchell Starc look to have two places wrapped up.

Kane Richardson is one of three bowlers fighting for the remaining spot, and Langer praised the progress of the 28-year-old.

“Twelve months ago we came here and got beaten 5-0 by England. That was probably a wake-up call for where we were at. What I can say is I’ve been very proud of the progress of the players. I think of someone like Kane Richardson, I sat next to him after the T20 game at Old Trafford and I never thought he would play cricket for Australia again. I didn’t think he had the bottle and we talked about it,” Langer said.

“You see how he’s come, he’s had a red-hot dip with everything he does. He’s a great role model for our players, to come from where we were 12 months ago, he’s standing tall and he’s having a go,” he added.

The Australian ODI team have been in red-hot form, having defeated India 3-2 in the five-match ODI series and then following it up with another series win over Pakistan in UAE.

“We’ve had a brilliant lead-up, with our games in the UAE (against Pakistan), our games in India. We’ve had some good practice games here,” Langer said about the build-up of the team.

“It means nothing but it means everything. We all start again but you build up confidence, camaraderie within the group, that’s really positive within the group,” he added.​

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2 India 7071 122
3 New Zealand 4837 112
4 Australia 5543 111
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2 England 4253 266
3 South Africa 4196 262
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