The touring Australia team management in India is facing a big question on the continuation of another key player on the current tour as opener David Warner is still doubtful for the third Test of the Border Gavaskar Trophy and for the rest of the series.
Warner had suffered a concussion and was substituted by Matt Renshaw and it was later revealed a hairline fracture in his left elbow, which puts him in doubt for the rest of the series.
With Australia’s batters collapsing in a heap for an embarrassing six-wicket defeat in the second Test in New Delhi within three days, they have nine days to not only recover from the psychological fallout of the defeat but also put together a potent squad for the third Test to be held at Indore from March 1.
Down 0-2 after two matches, Australia have already failed to regain the four-match Border Gavaskar Trophy series and need to win both the remaining matches to at least salvage some pride.
They have also missed out on the services of three other members of the original touring party after Josh Hazlewood was ruled out of the last two Tests due to a hamstring injury. Hazlewood along with Cameroon Green missed the first two Tests while Mitchell Starc and Mitchell Swepson were available for only one of the two matches. Left-arm spinner Matthew Kuhnemann was added to the original 18-member squad and played the Delhi match, which means 19 different players have been part of the squad over the first three weeks of the tour.
Skipper Pat Cummins has rushed home to Sydney to deal with a family medical concern and it is hoped he will return for the third Test in Indore but there is uncertainty over the situation, meaning vice-captain Steve Smith is on standby to lead.
With Warner still struggling to recover from the two injuries suffered within a few minutes during their first innings in Delhi after being hit twice by Mohammed Siraj, Australia have to take some drastic decisions before the third match.
“He’s still sore at the moment,” McDonald was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. “We’re in no rush to make any decisions at this point around Davey � There’s a bit of unknown there.”
Even otherwise, Warner has not set the field on fire during his three innings in India in the 2023 series — scoring 1 and 10 in the first Test at Nagpur and 15 runs in the first innings of the Delhi Test before being substituted for concussion.
There is a belief in the Australian camp that Travis Head could be a better option than Warner in these conditions and in case Green is declared fit to play in the Third Test, His availability will give options in batting but also in bowling, which means they can work out various combinations.
coach McDonald will have to take some big decisions in case Cummings is not able to return to India after attending to the health issue in his family.
Till then, all the Aussies can do is wait for some news from the team doctor.