Out-of-form opener Dave Warner is no chance of being dropped ahead of Australia’s first match of the T20 World Cup, which commences on Saturday at 9:30pm (AEDT).
Australia will finalise its team for the match against South Africa an hour before the first ball is bowled in Abu Dhabi and captain Aaron Finch said there was no chance Warner would be excluded, despite his recent form slump.
Since April, Warner has managed just three runs across four T20 innings. He was stripped of the Sunrisers Hyderabad captaincy midway through the IPL and scored only one run across Australia’s two World Cup practice matches.
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However, Finch rates Warner as “one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced”, and while the side’s bowling line-up remains a mystery, he said Warner’s place in the 11 was under no threat whatsoever.
“I’m backing Davey’s ability,” Finch told reporters on Friday night.
“I’m backing his judgment. I think if you look at his World Cup history, it’s bloody good.
“Would he have like more runs? Absolutely. Everyone would like more runs all the time but he’s one of the greatest players Australia has ever produced.
“I’ve got no doubts that come game one, he’ll be up and firing, ready to go.”
The Aussies will need him to be — Finch said capitalising on the power play, which begins with he and Warner at the crease, would be crucial to Australia’s chances of success.
“Even though it’s different surfaces to what the IPL used, we saw the impact that (making the most of the power play) had,” he said.
“The teams that won the power play went a long way to winning the game as the wickets deteriorated.
“The power play is going to be crucial, no doubt, for both teams.”
Finch said he personally was ready to make his mark on the tournament, having recovered well from knee surgery.
The Aussie skipper damaged cartilage in his right knee during the T20 series against the West Indies and went under the knife in mid-August.
His recovery period was estimated at 8-10 weeks, leaving pundits to question whether the surgery could affect his World Cup preparation.
However, the Aussie skipper has allayed all concerns, saying that he feels fresh and ready to go.
“(My knee) is feeling a bit better than what I thought it would at this stage, to be honest,” he said.
“To be able to play those first two warm up games against New Zealand and India was crucial, I think. To get a few in the middle was nice.”
He said the energy around Australia’s camp was just as positive.
“I think everyone’s in a pretty good space, to be honest,” he said.
“The way that the group’s come together and the feeling around the place has been brilliant.
“We’re really excited to kick it off tomorrow.”