‘David Warner Should Bat Down the Order If Picked for Ashes in England’, Opines Darren Lehmann

Former Australia head coach Darren Lehmann believes batting stalwart David Warner should be a member of the Ashes squad despite his woeful Test form, and adds that the opener could make an impact if he is pushed down the order.

Australia will travel to England for the Ashes in June with a question mark on whether the 36-year-old left-handed batter will be part of the squad or not.

Warner’s forgettable performance in India during the ongoing Border-Gavaskar series and his ordinary run in the 25 Test innings he has played in England so far, have set tongues wagging, with former Australia skipper Ricky Ponting saying that Warner had missed the best chance to hang up his boots after the Sydney Test against South Africa in January this year.

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Warner made 1 and 10 in the opening Test of the Border-Gavaskar series at Nagpur and had another forgetful outing in the second Test in New Delhi, where he made 15 in the first innings. He then flew back home due to an elbow injury.

Warner has never crossed a 100 in the 25 Test innings in England and scored a half-century just once in his last 15 outings in the five-day format.

Lehmann, who had stepped down as Australia head coach after the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018 and has overseen Warner for nearly half a decade of his career, said Cricket Australia (CA) could provide the perfect send-off to the stalwart by playing him down the order in the Ashes.

“David Warner, if he’s in form, he’s got something to add. The issue for me would be he’s been there (England) three times and hasn’t made a 100,” Lehmann told SEN Radio on Wednesday.

“I thought in the last Ashes series he should bat down (the order) and bat five or six, something different, because he can really expose their bowling down the order.”

Lehmann opined that the team management should be more flexible and swap Warner and Travis Head’s batting positions.

“We just keep him as an opener but David Warner, if he’s not succeeding at the top, could bat down, you could swap Warner and (Travis) Head. Sometimes you’ve got to think outside the box to see who’s going to succeed.”

Head came in as an opener for Warner in the second innings of the Test in New Delhi and scored a polished 43, though Australia lost the game at Ferozeshah Kotla by six wickets.

Elaborating Warner’s struggles against veteran England seamers Stuart Broad and James Anderson, Lehmann said it will be the selectors’ call to include him for the Ashes, but his gut feeling is that the left-hander would be in the squad.

“(Stuart) Broad and (James) Anderson are going to be quite difficult and Warner’s struggled with that (seam) in England, so whether they get him there or not will be a selectors’ call.

“My gut feel is they’ll take him in the squad (for the Ashes), but will they play him? I’m not so sure. But if you take him in the squad you might as well play him, or don’t take him at all,” added Lehmann.

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(This story has not been edited by News18 staff and is published from a syndicated news agency feed)

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