Cricket Australia, on Wednesday, have announced the playing XI for the first Ashes Test against England, which is scheduled to begin at the Gabba in Australia tomorrow. Steven Smith has confirmed the inclusion of opener David Warner, who had reportedly suffered a neck injury, in the playing eleven.
Australian vice-captain, David Warner, has been a crucial part of the Baggy Green's setup over the past few years. He has played 66 Tests, scoring 5705 runs at an impressive average of 47.94. Hence, when news of him hurting his neck while taking a high catch during the training session came out, fans went into a meltdown.
However, in the pre-match press conference, Australian skipper Steve Smith has confirmed that the explosive batsman has been included in the playing XI claiming that Warner’s condition has improved a lot.
"He's very confident and he says he'll be right to go," Smith told reporters ahead of Thursday's Ashes opener at the Gabba as quoted by AFP.
"He'll be OK. It's part and parcel of playing cricket. Guys have injuries every now and then and have little niggles. He's improved a fair bit over the last 24 hours and hopefully, he can keep improving and be 100 percent at match time.
"He said he'll even bat like (West Indian) Shivnarine Chanderpaul (side-on batting stance) if he has to."
Smith has also revealed that the selectors were discussing a replacement option to be on standby, but he was confident that the 31-year-old would not require any.
"There's a good chance someone will be in as cover but I'm not sure who at this stage... they're thinking about it at the moment," he said.
Paine, who made his Test debut alongside Steve Smith in a match against Pakistan at Lord’s in 2010, was selected for his first Test match in over seven years. Another name which has created a buzz is that of Cameron Bancroft who was picked by the selectors in the playing eleven. The 24-year-old is set open the batting alongside Warner and become Australia’s 451st Test player.
Australia Playing XI for 1st Ashes Test: