Cummins backs Warner to retain Australia place for second Test

By Sports Desk February 16, 2023

Pat Cummins does not believe Australia opener David Warner's place at the top of the order is under threat for the second Test against India.

Warner failed twice as the tourists were hammered by an innings and 132 runs in the first match of the Border-Gavaskar series in Nagpur.

The 36-year-old had eased the pressure on himself by scoring a magnificent double century in the Boxing Day Test against South Africa at the MCG, and Australia captain Cummins has given his backing to the left-hander.

He said on the eve of the second Test at Arun Jaitley Stadium: "I'm not a selector. I don't think they've had a meeting but I'm sure Davey will be there.

"You saw at the Boxing Day Test when he puts pressure back on the opposition, he's pretty hard to bowl to. You don't get as many bad balls, so he knows that. I'm sure that'd be part of his plan.

"He has been batting really well here. Even in the lead-up, I thought he was fantastic. I know there's a lot of talk about spin bowling through the middle but with that new ball it's sometimes the hardest time to bat as well."

There remains uncertainty over whether paceman Mitchell Starc and all-rounder Cameron Green will be fit to take their place in the side in Delhi on Friday.

The duo have been out with finger injuries and Cummins says the tourists are mulling over their options, with Starc potentially overlooked in favour of a third spinner as Matthew Kuhnemann stands by to make his debut and Ashton Agar awaits his chance.

Asked about playing three spinners, Cummins said: "I think there's a conversation. We'll work that out by the end of today, I hope.

"[Starc] is one of the world's premier bowlers in these types of conditions. We'll see. The wicket looks like it might turn a little bit. I thought last week with two pacers, that attack functioned quite well, but I think whether it's Starcy, another spinner, Scott [Boland], variety in the attack does help."

Cummins said of Green: "Having a right-hander helps and him providing our fifth bowling option also helps. He's a big player. It certainly helps the team function well from batting and bowling.

"You have got to be able to perform as well. He's still coming back from that injury. He's only had [one] session where he's catching with a hard ball. He had a really good session yesterday. We will see how he pulls up."

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