Australia again have an unsettled XI for the Ashes opener, this time because of David Warner’s stiff neck and Shaun Marsh’s sore back, prompting selectors to summon Glenn Maxwell to Brisbane.

The selection debate is back on, having raged so robustly over the past month – culminating in one of the hardest meetings Trevor Hohns had chaired.

In the rich tradition of last-minute Ashes drama and 12 years after Glenn McGrath’s freak ankle injury, Australia’s bid to reclaim the urn is suddenly beset by mishaps.

It remains to be seen whether Warner, who remains restricted by his stiff neck but very confident he will face England after batting in the nets on Wednesday, will take his place on Thursday at the top of the order.

It was thought Maxwell flew in as cover for the vice-captain, who would be given until the last minute to prove his fitness.

But it emerged on Wednesday afternoon that Marsh, who was slated to open if Warner wasn’t fit enough to feature in the first Test, was also nursing a niggle.

It would be an extraordinary series of events for Maxwell to bat at No.6 in his first Test on home soil – a week after being overlooked in favour of Marsh and a day after dashing to Melbourne Airport on short notice.

The presence of only one shadow batsman suggests Marsh’s concern is more serious than that of Warner.

“He said he’ll even bat like Shivnarine Chanderpaul if he has to,” skipper Steve Smith said of Warner, in reference to the West Indian’s unique face-on technique that made his own look orthodox.

“He’s very confident and he says he’ll be right to go.

“He’ll be OK. It’s part and parcel of playing cricket. Guys have injuries every now and then, and have little niggles.

“He’s improved a fair bit over the last 24 hours and, hopefully, he can keep improving and be 100 per cent at 10am.”

Marsh has a history of back trouble and was restricted by a jarred back in his most-recent Test earlier this year in India.

Team medicos and chairman of selectors Hohns face some tough calls. The worst-case scenario would be for both Warner and Marsh to play then retire hurt at some point in Australia’s first innings.

“I’m sure he will be fine,” England captain Joe Root said of Warner.

“These sort of things tend to crop up before a big series but I don’t think we need to change our plans on anything. We’ll still prepare the same and be absolutely ready for him to play.”

The aggressive opener twinged his neck on Tuesday morning while taking a catch at the Gabba.

Warner received treatment overnight and hit the nets on Wednesday morning after a brief chat with team physio David Beakley.

It wasn’t the most exacting session, with Warner batting in a hat and only facing throwdowns. He started cautiously then finished with a flurry of pull shots.

Interested onlookers Beakley and Hohns appeared somewhat satisfied.

“I don’t think a sore neck is going to keep me out,” Warner declared on Tuesday.

© AAP 2018
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The Crowd Says (24)

  • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:07pm
    PeteB said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:07pm | ! Report

    Oh FFS, just dump Marsh now and put Maxwell in.

  • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:15pm
    dave said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:15pm | ! Report

    A 33 year old with a history of injuries gets selected and now has some injury concerns.Wow.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 10:03pm
      Rock said | November 22nd 2017 @ 10:03pm | ! Report


  • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:24pm
    Ben said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:24pm | ! Report

    ”The worst-case scenario would be for both Warner and Marsh to play then retire hurt at some point in Australia’s first innings”
    We need 11 fully fit players.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:24pm
      dave said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

      Worst case scenario.Same as what Ben said but one of our quicks gets injured and we don’t have a 5th bowling option.

  • November 22nd 2017 @ 6:46pm
    Ben said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:46pm | ! Report

    Shaun Marsh is setting the scene for call up number 9 later in the series…

  • Roar Guru

    November 22nd 2017 @ 6:50pm
    pformagg said | November 22nd 2017 @ 6:50pm | ! Report

    Poor Warner forgot to swallow the Viagra with water, now its stuck in his throat.

  • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:25pm
    Broken-hearted Toy said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:25pm | ! Report

    I hope it’s not Warner’s call on whether he is in good enough condition. Players shouldn’t be in the 11 if they are not fully mobile at start of play.

    Shaun Marsh was never going to last the series but to be injured before it’s started is bad timing by even his standards of fragility.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:32pm
      Ben said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

      At least both injuries happened before the game.

    • November 22nd 2017 @ 7:40pm
      GD66 said | November 22nd 2017 @ 7:40pm | ! Report

      And yet not a surprise.

      Who selects the selectors ? Hohns was past his use-by date in his first incarnation.

      • November 23rd 2017 @ 9:23am
        beepee said | November 23rd 2017 @ 9:23am | ! Report

        I’ve thought this for a long time. Why are the selectors never made accountable for their performances like everyone else?

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