Australia vs India | Warner likely to play, Pukovski set for debut in Sydney: Langer

Australia’s head coach sought to allay concerns that Warner hasn’t played four-day cricket for about 12 months, saying the immense experience that is behind the opener will help him jump into the traditional format without any fuss.

A ‘warrior’ that he is, David Warner has done everything to be ready and is likely to compete in the third Test against India, Australia head coach Justin Langer said on Tuesday and assured that lack of four-day cricket for the opener in the last few months is not a concern.

Langer also announced that young batsman Will Pucovski will make his Test debut on Thursday.

Both Warner and Pukovski, who was primed for Test debut in Adelaide, missed the first two Tests of the series due to a groin injury and concussion-related issues respectively.

“Very hopeful that David will be ready to go (for the third Test), he is a bit of a warrior, isn’t he? I have said this since day one that he is doing everything possible to be ready,” Langer said at a virtual media conference.

“He is moving pretty well. He is very determined to play. He loves the competition and he loves playing Test cricket. We will get some final eyes on him at training this afternoon and we will make a discussion on that. But I would say, he (Warner) is looking very likely to play the Test match,” he added.

Langer also announced that 22-year-old Pucovski, who was hit on the head during the warm up game against India A, has been cleared to play.

“He has been cleared by all the medicos. He has been cleared and that will be very heartening for him and for his family and everyone involved in it,” Langer said.

Langer sought to allay concerns that Warner hasn’t played four-day cricket for about 12 months, saying the immense experience that is behind the opener will help him jump into the traditional format without any fuss.

“He has played a lot of white-ball cricket recently, a bit like Steve Smith. Davey hasn’t played any four-day cricket for about 12 months but he is a master of the game. He has played a lot of cricket, his experience will help him, no doubt about that,” said Langer.

The coach said they will keep Warner in the slips to help him save energy though he may feel some discomfort while fielding.

“He is going to play with pain though and it is not so much in the muscle but in the tendon area. Like (a) lot of cricketers, who play through different levels of pain, he is willing to take that on and hopefully won’t hamper him too much,” he added.

Warner had himself last Saturday said he was “highly doubtful” about attaining full fitness ahead of the third Test, though he would possibly do respond to a desperate selection and the team management’s call.

However, Langer assured that if the Australians felt that there was any risk of re-injuring Warner, then they would have certainly not rushed his return.

“He has had a good rehab, as I said he might be little restricted in the field, he might get that area little-bit fatigued, because he hasn’t played Test cricket for a while but we wouldn’t take that risk if we thought he would re-injure himself,” said Langer.

The four-match series is tied 1-1 with the hosts winning the Pink Ball opener in Adelaide while India emerged triumphant in Melbourne.

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