Melbourne, January 2
Australia’s number one opener, David Warner, on Saturday said he was “highly doubtful” about attaining full fitness ahead of the third Test against India though he would do everything possible to respond to a desperate selection panel and team management’s call.
Warner sustained a groin tear during the second ODI against India and has been racing against time to get fit for the January 7-11 third Test after missing the first two matches where Joe Burns and Matthew Wade failed to live up to the expectations.
Asked about his fitness update, Warner put things as it is.
“We have got training sessions today and tomorrow, so I can’t give you any more indications where I am at. I haven’t trained the last couple of days but after today and tomorrow will give me a better indication of where I am. Am I going to be 100 per cent? Highly doubtful,” Warner said during a virtual media conference.
Cricket Australia and the team management’s desperation was felt from his next statement.
“… But I will be doing everything to get on that park and play. Even if that means that I am not a hundred per cent, I will be doing everything that I can if the selectors give me that green light,” the dashing left-hander said.
Warner said that during a few net sessions, he didn’t try to lunge forward but knew that adrenaline took over once the game began.
“Batting in the nets the other day, it probably helped me as I had to wait for the ball to be pitched in my area and I didn’t throw my hands at it and tried playing nice and tight. It’s funny in saying that. Look, for me, there will be some restrictions here and there. I think when you get into a game, adrenaline takes over, you sort of don’t cast any doubts that you can’t play those shots. But, at the moment, yeah, there are a few shots where if you are lunging then….,” Warner said.
His priority, more than a range of shots, would be to check whether he is able to tap and run those quick singles.
“For me, if it is about my speed between wickets, that’s all that matters, nothing else. More than what shots I can or can’t play, it’s about being able to drop and run, help the other guy. These are things I want to be 100 per cent fit for and in this case, I am not going to be,” his statement made it clear that he was being pushed into playing even before his body would permit.
Another big concern will be whether he can dive or stretch on his left and right while taking catches and field at leg slip or leg gully when off-spinner Nathan Lyon is in operation.
“It’s about being smart and if I feel that I can do my duty and That’s like standing in the slip cordon and taking catches to my left and right. If there’s a hindrance in terms of field position, that will determine, if I will play or not. I know I can manage running between the wickets and manage the shot-making that I have,” he said.
“It’s about having the capacity to manage catching balls to left and right of myself and even with Gaza (Lyon) bowling, in first slip and leg slip, it’s about being agile enough to make sure that I am taking those chances. Because if I am not, I don’t want to be dropping those chances and not giving my team the best chance of taking them,” Warner added.
Another example of desperation was about his rehab programme which included taking pain killer injection shots and that, he said, wasn’t a pleasant experience.
“In terms of rehabs, I got a couple of jabs (injection shots) to get me pain-free and the first two weeks were challenging. It was difficult to move around in bed, getting in and out of the car. The first jab allowed me to get a bit pain free and allowed me to do some rehab.
“Last two to three weeks has been about getting that rehab done and remaining pain-free. When it comes to the tendon related issues, they hang around for quite a while. It’s hard to get through that pain threshold and I am trying to manage everything we can to fast-track that rehab process,” he said.
The third Test will be broadcast live on Sony Six, Sony Ten 3 (Hindi) and Sony Ten 1 channels from Thursday 5 am onwards. PTI