David Warner has been met with a police escort at Delhi Airport as Australia arrived in Indian capital city ahead of the second Test.
After an utter capitulation in the first Test where Warner was dismissed for just 1 and 10 in an awful return to a nation he has enjoyed visiting in the past.
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While Warner has dominated in the IPL, having scored 5881 runs in 162 matches — third most runs in history — at an average of 42.01 and strike rate of 140.69, Warner has been a huge performer in the T20 format in the nation.
It’s why Warner is such a revered figure in India and seemingly the reason for the reaction rather than a perceived threat.
It was a big show of protection for Warner with at least 13 men escorting the Aussie through the airport, a least one of which was holding a gun.
But while it was an impressive welcome for the man who is expected to be named the skipper of the Delhi Capitals for the 2023 IPL season, questions surround Warner’s participation in the remainder of the series against India.
The first Test loss was the third worst Australia had ever had against India and the second innings score of 91 was Australia’s worst in the subcontinent.
As for Warner, while he has a glittering IPL career, his spot in the squad for the remainder of the Test series appears to be hanging by a thread.
The first Test was Warner’s ninth in the country, where he has scored 399 runs at 22.17.
Ravichandran Ashwin has been his chief destroyer, having dismissed Warner 11 times in Tests, including six times in India. Ashwin is behind only Stuart Broad in terms of dismissing Warner in Tests, something he has achieved 14 times.
But Ravindra Jadeja has also dismissed Warner four times in India, while means he’s been dismissed by either Jadeja or Ashwin in 10 of his 18 completed innings in the country.
His liability particularly against the Indian spinners — he was bowled by quick Mohammed Shami in the first innings — and poor run of form has Warner seemingly on the outer.
Since the beginning of 2022, Warner has scored just one century — his famous 200 on Boxing Day. Outside of that innings, he has 392 runs at 17.82 in 13 Test matches.
It sees Travis Head in line for a recall to the side but at the top of the order to replace Warner for the second Test, after he was controversially dropped for Matthew Renshaw in the first Test.
In a column for the West Australian, Mitchell Johnson wrote earlier in the week that Warner should be dropped.
“I would drop David Warner, elevate Matthew Renshaw to open and bring Travis Head into the middle order,” Johnson wrote.
While Head only averages 21.30 in Asia, and comes off a tour of Sri Lanka where he scored 23 runs at an average of 7.66, as well as being a left-hander, which India were accused of targeting in the first Test.
Johnson questioned the consistency of the selection panel’s approach to Head.
“If it’s about a horses for courses policy based on previous form in the subcontinent, why didn’t that apply to Warner?” Johnson wrote.
“That’s where it got murky for me.”
Fox Sports commentator Brendan Julian said the decision to drop Head was “very bizarre”.
“It’s not as if they were bringing in superstars – Renshaw and Peter Handscomb – to take his spot so that was a bizarre move and I think it has backfired,” he told Sky News Australia.
But coach Andrew McDonald said there hadn’t been any discussions about Head coming in for Warner “at this stage”.
In January, News Corp revealed the toll that Warner’s struggles in Asia have had on him, with diary entries shown in the second season of the Amazon documentary The Test showing how tough he has found the subcontinent.
One entry, dated to August 27 2017, reads “I am done.
“1 game to go and never again touring subcontinent.
“Too much stress on my mind that I don’t need.”
Story Credit: news.com.au