David Warner had a miserable time at the Ashes in England but fellow Australia batsman Marnus Labuschagne is backing the opener to return as an even better player.
Warner endured a torrid series which saw him score just 95 runs in 10 innings while being dismissed by Stuart Broad on no less than seven separate occasions. It is the lowest return in a five-match Test series by any opening batsman in history but Labuschagne is not too worries.
Labuschagne, who finished as Australia’s second-highest run-getter in the series, highlighted Warner’s excellent work behind the scenes with the younger players.
“It was the first time I got to know Dave and I loved spending time with him,” the right-handed batsman was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au.
“The way he conducted himself the whole tour, being under pressure and obviously he didn’t score runs he would like (but) the way he helped the guys around like myself and the other younger guys, talking about game and about batting and just his whole demeanour was really great.
“It’s a real credit to him. It was a very tough series for him personally but you look back and we won’t know until end of our summer but I think that’s going to make him a better player.”
Warner’s overall Test record remains a stellar one with the left-hander averaging more than 45 in the format after 79 appearances for Australia which has seen him register 21 tons. Labuschagne is under no doubt that the 32-year-old will be able to bounce back strongly come the Australian summer.
“All those things, when at the time it’s not going your way, actually it just makes you a tougher player, and you just kind of want it more,” Labuschagne said.
“You don’t look at those things now as negatives, they’re positives, because you wouldn’t be the player you are without those things.”
Warner will not hope to regain his red-ball form later this year when Pakistan come calling to Australia for a two-Test series towards the end of November.
Former opening batsman Sunil Gavaskar believes the time has come for Indian cricket to look beyond MS Dhoni even as the debate over the veteran’s future rages on.
Dhoni’s international future has been subject to intense speculation since the completion of the 2019 World Cup in England with the wicketkeeper-batsman subsequently making himself ‘unavailable’ for the tour of West Indies and the ongoing home series against South Africa.
With Dhoni absent from the picture, India’s selectors have opted to groom young Rishabh Pant in the wicketkeeping role across all three formats. However, the youngster has failed to grab his chances so far in the limited-overs formats with his erratic shot-selection earning him the ire of the team management in recent times.
Despite Pant’s current woes, Gavaskar feels India have to look beyond MS Dhoni with regards to the 2020 T20 World Cup in Australia.
“No, we need to look beyond. Mahendra Singh Dhoni at least doesn’t figure in my team. If you are talking about the T20 World Cup, I will certainly think about Rishabh Pant,” Gavaskar told Aaj Tak when asked if the veteran should be picked for the tour of Bangladesh to come later.
“If I need to have an alternate option, then I will think of Sanju Samson because Sanju is a good ‘keeper as well as a good batsman.
“If I have to think of the T20 World Cup, I would think about youth as we need to look forward. Dhoni has made great contribution to Indian cricket but it’s now time to look beyond him.”
38-year-old Dhoni is yet to drop any hints about his international future while skipper Virat Kohli has recently stated that the veteran is a valuable asset to the team as long as he is ‘available’.
It has been two T20 series in a row now that India have opted against including Kuldeep Yadav in their squad but the young wrist-spinner is not too worried just yet.
The 24-year-old, along with fellow wrist-spinner Yuzvendra Chahal, has been a near permanent fixture in India’s limited-overs squad since the conclusion of the 2017 ICC Champions Trophy in England but has been overlooked for selection in the recent clashes against West Indies and now South Africa.
Despite the setback, Kuldeep is now looking to use his recent T20 omissions as an opportunity to focus on Test cricket.
“So far, I have done a good job in the limited-overs format. I feel very comfortable with the white ball,” the youngster was quoted as saying by the Indian Express.
“I am not worried about not being picked for the last two T20I series. Maybe the selectors felt I needed a break. Maybe the team thinks some changes are required.
“I respect that, and I have no complaints. I see this as an opportunity to do well in Tests.”
Kuldeep has so far made six Test appearances for India since making his debut in in 2017 and the spinner will hope to get more chances in the upcoming three-match series against South Africa.
He is taking confidence from his most recent red-ball display which saw him claim a four-wicket haul in the just concluded unofficial Test between India ‘A’ and South Africa ‘A’.
“It’s hard to play red-ball cricket when you aren’t consistently playing that format,” Kuldeep stated.
“If you aren’t a regular in this format, it takes time to get into your rhythm. When you are consistently playing limited-overs and suddenly switch to Tests without much preparation, it will be tough to excel.
“You need to bowl long spells, play practice games, to understand field placements and to know how to pick wickets. It was important for me to come here (India A game) and bowl as many overs as possible. There is still plenty of work to do.”
The first Test between India and South Africa at Visakhapatnam will get underway on October 2.