Sydney: Australia have started to show their hand for the ICC World Test Championship final against India after unveiling the group set to tackle the early stages of a bumper tour of England.
As Australia revealed a 17-player touring party, selections and omissions provide clues for their blueprint to beat India in the WTC final at The Oval, and their plan for the opening two Ashes Tests against England at Edgbaston and Lord's.
As predicted, David Warner has been included after missing the final two Test matches of India due to both a concussion and a hairline fracture of his elbow, though two other left-handed openers have also been named in Matthew Renshaw and Marcus Harris.
Warner found his mojo with an even 200 against South Africa at the Boxing Day Test match last year, though it is the only knock in his last 19 Test innings where he has passed 50.
The veteran opener made just 95 runs across 10 innings in the 2019 Ashes, dismissed by Stuart Broad seven times as the right-armer took to bowling around the wicket and swinging the ball away from the left-handed batter.
Pat Cummins (captain), Steve Smith (vice-captain), David Warner, Alex Carey (wk), Cameron Green, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Todd Murphy, Matthew Renshaw, Mitchell Starc, Scott Boland
Batting in England has been tough for the Australian group on recent Ashes tours, with Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne the only players in the 2023 squad to average more than 30. Warner is next-best for Australia with an average of 26 in England, and is set to join Usman Khawaja, at least for now.
Renshaw made his case for selection through a strong Australia A tour of New Zealand and a recent run of good domestic form, while Harris is playing for Gloucestershire as part of his late run for the tour.
Harris made 59 and 148 against Glamorgan in his first County Championship appearance of the season to push his case, on top of his 601 runs across nine matches in last season's Sheffield Shield.
There was seemingly little interest for Australia opting for a right/left combination despite the frailties revealed in 2019, as Cameron Bancroft was left out of the squad.