David Warner (Pic: AFP)
Australian batting stalwart Usman Khawaja backed fellow opener David Warner, stating that he believes Warner is probably at his best as he prepares for the challenging English summer, which includes the World Test Championship final against India and the Ashes.
Warner, 36, had endured a difficult tour of India earlier this year, and even though the Delhi Capitals skipper incorporated attacking approach while amassing 516 runs from 14 matches in IPL 2023, he will have his task cut out in the seaming English conditions.
Khawaja stated that Warner is in good shape and fully prepared for the upcoming tournaments.
"I have seen him (Warner) bat in the last couple of days and, I don't want to jinx him, but he is looking good," Khawaja was quoted as saying by ICC.
While Warner was included in Australia's squad for the WTC final and the first two Ashes Tests, the selectors have also picked Marcus Harris and Matt Renshaw as options, but Khawaja believes if the veteran cricketer is in the playing XI, he will give it his best shot.
"This is probably the best I have seen him look in the nets for a while. That doesn't always correlate to runs, but if we are any chance of Davey Warner scoring runs this could be it. He always plays his best when his back is against the wall too," added Khawaja.
Warner, apart from a magnificent double hundred against South Africa last December, has struggled for runs in recent assignments, managing a mere 26 runs in three Test innings in the recent tour of India before returning home injured.
He had also endured a forgettable campaign during the last Ashes, returning with an average of 9.50, the worst ever by an opener playing in 10 innings with England quick Broad dominating the 36-year-old.
"We saw when he scored a double century in his 100th game when everyone was writing him off and telling him he was done and it was his last game and he went out and gets 200. "You never write off a great player, so I am expecting runs," said Khawaja.
Warner indicated he would likely stick to his task during the Tests than get involved in any pre-Ashes banter with England cricketers, especially Broad who restricted the Australian to just 95 runs at an average less than 10 during the last Ashes in England.
"It (banter) just sells papers and clickbait, so I won't be getting involved in any of that stuff. I will leave it to themselves," said Warner of the Ashes series which will commence in Edgbaston on June 16.
"Today, there is no real banter in the field. It is just about playing quality cricket and trying to get the upper edge on each other. It is a lot more connected these days than before which I think is great for the game," he added.
(With PTI inputs)