Australia's Warner eyes one more crack at England in 2023

Boland fighting for Australia Test future despite dream debut

By: AFP      Published: 10:56 AM, 29 Dec, 2021
Australia's Warner eyes one more crack at England in 2023
File photo.

David Warner has hinted he is keen for one last Ashes tour in 2023 to make amends for his failed campaign in England two years ago, drawing inspiration from veteran seamer Jimmy Anderson.

The explosive Australian opener would be approaching 37 should he retain his place that long and in all likelihood would have joined the 100-Test club. He currently has 89 caps.  

Winning in India is also on his bucket list before pulling up stumps on a Test career that has so far yielded 7,551 runs at 48.40.

"Winning the Ashes here was obviously a big one," Warner said after Australia crushed England in the third Test in Melbourne to retain the Ashes.

"We still haven't beaten India in India, that would be nice to do.

"And England away -- we had a drawn series (in 2019) but hopefully if I manage to get that opportunity, I might think about going back."

England hasn't been a happy hunting ground for Warner, who had a horror tour in 2019, when he managed just 95 runs at 9.50 from five Tests with Stuart Broad dismissing him seven times.

"In terms of 2019 it was obviously in England so he (Broad) was able to get the ball to come back into us and away from us," said Warner, who has been a mainstay at the top of the Australian order for a decade.

"For me it was one of those tours where I didn't back my game plan and I went too defensive and I didn't attack. That was my fault, and he bowled really well."

Whether Warner can still be competitive into 2023 remains to be seen, although he has been written off previously and come roaring back, most recently at the Twenty20 World Cup.

He was dropped by his Indian Premier League team Sunrisers Hyderabad ahead of the World Cup, leading some pundits to suggest his best days were over.

But Warner responded in the only way he knows, by scoring runs, and was named player of the tournament as Australia lifted the trophy.

He pointed to England's Anderson, still going strong at 39, as an example of cricketers performing at their peak well into the twilight of their careers.

"James Anderson sets the benchmark for older guys these days, we look up to him getting on in our days," Warner said after Anderson bowled beautifully in the Melbourne Test.

"For me it's just about performing to the best of my ability and putting runs on the board."

Boland fighting for future despite dream debut

Scott Boland wrote his name into Australian Ashes folklore with his magical 6-7 against England in Melbourne, but his fairytale debut could incredibly be his last Test.

The 32-year-old was called up for his expertise on his home Melbourne Cricket Ground as cover with Jhye Richardson, Michael Neser and Josh Hazlewood either rested or not fit for the third Test.

And he grabbed the opportunity with both hands, helping inspire Australia to victory by an innings and 14 runs to retain the Ashes urn in style. 

Not only did Boland become just the second Indigenous man -- after Jason Gillespie -- to play Test cricket for Australia, he also won the Johnny Mullagh medal as man-of-the-match for decimating the tourists in a four-over second-innings blitz.

It was fitting -- Mullagh was also an Indigenous cricketer, who led an all-Aboriginal team to Britain in 1868.

Yet despite equalling the record for the fastest five-wicket haul in Test history, Boland could well be overlooked for the fourth Test in Sydney starting on January 5.

"That could conceivably be the last Test that he plays," former skipper Ricky Ponting told cricket.com.au.

"It's staggering to think. He's almost 33, he's just taken six for seven. Hoff (Hazlewood) has got to come back, Jhye's probably ahead of him in the pecking order as well.

"If there's any worry at all with (Hazlewood) -– which one do they pick out of Richardson and Boland? That's going to be the big selection point I think."

Australian captain Pat Cummins also flagged the possibility of leg-spinner Mitchell Swepson making his debut at the Sydney Cricket Ground, traditionally the most spin-friendly of the Australian Test venues, another factor working against Boland.

"I thought it was a really brave call by the selectors to bring in Scotty for this game. Full credit. They've made the right call," said Cummins. "Good luck for Sydney.

"Jhye will hopefully be available, Joshy will hopefully be available and we've still got Michael Neser here in the squad. 

"No idea (who will get the nod) -- it might be a spinning track and you've got Mitchell Swepson bowling beautifully. It's a luxury."

Boland, who hails from the Gulidjan tribe in western Victoria state, knows he may have played his one and only Test.

"It's probably wait and see," he said. "But firstly we'll enjoy winning the Ashes."

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.