By Ian Ransom
MELBOURNE, Dec.31 (Reuters) – David Warner could play in the third test against India despite lacking in fitness as Australia look to the veteran’s opener to bolster the upper order, said Thursday assistant coach Andrew McDonald.
Warner was excluded from the first two tests in Adelaide and Melbourne after tearing an adductor muscle, but was included in the 18-man squad for the match at Sydney Cricket Ground from January 7.
With opener Joe Burns falling after a dismal test in Melbourne, Australia will have a new opening partnership as they look to bounce back from an eight-wicket loss and take a 2-1 lead in the series.
McDonald said having Warner, if he wasn’t fully fit, would be a “clear option” and a question for player and head coach Justin Langer.
“He might not be 100 percent. Who’s been injured? You never know until you get there,” McDonald told reporters Thursday.
“Look, if he’s 90-95% fit and the conversation is that he’s fit enough to be able to go out there and do his tasks for the team, then I’m sure it’s going to be a conversation that the coach will have with the player.
“Most of the time Justin is open enough with the players to give them responsibility for this.”
Uncapped opener Will Pucovski was also included in the squad, and McDonald understood that to mean the youngster had eliminated concussion protocols.
Pucovski, who has a history of concussion issues, was excluded from opening tests after being hit in the helmet with a bouncer during a touring game.
McDonald has said he will be part of the squad when they return to training in Melbourne from January 2.
“It will just be a question now of what training and how quickly he can make himself available for selection,” he said.
Matthew Wade was promoted to open with Burns in the first two Tests and made solid starts in three of his four innings without breaking a half-century.
McDonald hailed Wade’s performance as a makeshift opening game, but said he felt his best position was in the middle range.