Former England captain Michael Vaughan has suggested a radical move which could save the Test career of David Warner.
Warner, 36, is heading to the UK in a squad of 17 players which was named for the World Test Championship final against India, as well as the first two Ashes matches in June.
But the 103-Test veteran’s career hangs by a thread thanks to a lean run with the bat, which has included only one triple-figure score in more than three years.
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It’s been widely suggested Warner has to make a score in the WTC final to avoid being dropped.
The last time Australia played an Ashes series in England, Warner was dominated by fast bowler Stuart Broad and scored a measly 95 runs at an average of 9.50.
Vaughan now says a move down the batting order could be the key.
“The one thing with David Warner, I know England fear him,” Vaughan told The Sydney Morning Herald.
“I do know that the (England) captain (Ben Stokes) worries that Warner could come out of the traps and just have one of those series. And he’s never done it really in England.
“He doesn’t have much of a record here. I know (Stuart) Anderson and Broad don’t mind bowling to him. But the modern game seems to be available to out-of-the-box thinking more than ever. He doesn’t have to open the batting.
“He’s such a good player of spin. He’s such a good player when the ball that’s not moving. The ball won’t move after 30-odd overs in English conditions.
“Could they find a place for him at five or six?”
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Warner has opened the batting in all but three of his 103 Tests, and only on one occasion has he entered the innings lower than No.3. On that occasion, in 2013, he scored five off 10 balls.
If Warner is dropped, or moved down the order, the 17-man squad has fellow lefties Marcus Harris and Matthew Renshaw as potential replacements.
But Vaughan wants to see Australia throw caution to the wind and promote right-handed slugger Mitchell Marsh to open the batting alongside Usman Khawaja.
“If I was Australia, I would really, really study the top of their order. Why would you want to throw out two left-handers to Broad and Anderson?” Vaughan said.
“If you’re doing your research and you’re looking at the way that those two bowl at left-handers, particularly in English conditions, why would you give those two great bowlers exactly what they want at the top of the order to get themselves up and running?
“I would honestly look at someone like Mitchell Marsh to open the batting because it gets him in the team. He can bowl you a few overs. He’s done all right against England.
“He’s a right-hander and he might go down the aggressive route. No bowler likes to go for runs. And everyone else who has been here opening the batting for Australia in the last few series has struggled, so why not try something a bit different?”
Marsh, 31, has played 32 Tests for Australia for an average of 25.20, but has never opened the batting in the format.
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