The Roar
The Roar



Even if he has ‘Sandpapergate’ secrets, Warner should be dropped - but who'll take his spot?

Autoplay in... 6 (Cancel)
Up Next No more videos! Playlist is empty -
9th July, 2023
4032 Reads

The mental stranglehold that Stuart Broad has over David Warner means the Australian opener needs to be dropped from the Test side, and his replacement should be all-rounder Cameron Green.

Scores of 9, 36, 66, 25, 4 and 1 means Warner has an average of just 23.5 for the series. Not great, Bob.

Yet it’s not even the poor return of runs that should seal his fate, it’s the fact that Broad unequivocally ‘owns’ him. The English quick has now dismissed Warner an astonishing 17 times in Test cricket. Say that statistic out loud, and then try to tell me the Australian selectors would be anything but negligent to ignore this pattern any longer.

Warner’s smile after he nicked off to Broad – again – on day 2, indicates just how much Broad is in his head. With cricket being such a mental game, ignoring this psychological dynamic is tantamount to incompetency for those tasked with choosing the best Australian side possible.

Warner has stated that he’d like to retire after the SCG Test in the upcoming Australian summer, though if he is dropped now, it would all but end his Test career.

Conspiracy theorists have suggested Warner will get to retire on his own terms, due to Cricket Australia officials being nervous he will “spill his guts” on Sandpapergate if he is unceremoniously dumped before he wants to depart.

It’s an interesting take, but if Warner does have the “receipts”, or knows “where the bodies are buried”, or “holds the smoking gun” – or whatever other clever turn of phrase you want to use for Warner throwing others under the bus for what eventuated at Newlands in 2018 – then the reality is that it will all come out at some point anyway.

Cameron Bancroft

Cameron Bancroft of Australia talks to the umpire. (AP Photo/Halden Krog)


If the tin foil hat brigade are right and Cricket Australia are placating Warner, all they would really be doing is delaying the inevitable. If there actually is more to be revealed, Warner’s memoir, autobiography, or exclusive ‘tell all tale’ with Channel 7, will happen whether he’s dropped or gets a farewell Test.

As such, I’m not convinced Warner will get to decide when his career finishes. What I am sure of is that it needs to end now, with Broad having played the role of executioner.

It’s been a roller-coaster of a career for Warner, with the requisite amount of up and downs, but every ride comes to an end.

As one door shuts, another one opens, and I love the duality of saying “opens” here, because I believe Cameron Green should come back into the side at the top of the order.

Part of the reason Warner has been able to cling onto his spot to date, is because there hasn’t been anyone banging down the door to replace him. Marcus Harris, Matt Renshaw and Cameron Bancroft have all been touted as replacements, but all come with their own concerns.

Harris has played 14 Tests for an average of 25. He turns 31 in a week, and the harsh assessment is that we’ve probably seen what Harris is, and it’s not Test level.


Meanwhile, Renshaw has already scored a hundred at the top of the order for Australia, however, like Harris, he’s played 14 Tests without cementing a spot. Nor did he dominate Shield cricket last season, other than an unbeaten double century that boosted his otherwise average… um… average.

Bancroft didn’t make the current Ashes squad, so despite being in England for County cricket, you would think he’s not realistically an option to finish this series out for Warner.

Additionally, fairly or not, replacing Warner with Bancroft doesn’t exactly help the Australian team move on from the ball-tampering scandal. That might be unjust, but he potentially should have thought of that before putting sandpaper down his trousers.

Which brings us nicely back to a left-field option, and the one I would make: picking Cameron Green to open the batting.

Mitch Marsh certainly doesn’t deserve to be dropped after his stunning performance in the Third Test, and having both him and Green in the team provides incredible flexibility, depth and options for Australia’s bowling attack.

Since Green has come into the side, he’s been a fairly nervous starter when batting. It’s not uncommon for him to have a very low strike rate for the first 30 odd balls he faces, before he begins to feel comfortable and play some shots. If he’s still in, that is.

Green doesn’t have a very expansive range of shots in his arsenal, especially early in his innings. It’s basically ‘block or leave’ early, before slightly shifting into ‘block, leave or boundary-hitting’ later. The tall all-rounder isn’t particularly proficient at rotating the strike, hitting singles, and playing with soft hands.

Cameron Green of Australia bats.

Cameron Green of Australia bats. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

He’s a little Shane Watson-like, in that regard.

It’s something he needs to work on, no matter where he bats in the order. Yet until he develops methods to noodle, nudge and ‘soft hands’ his way to some singles, perhaps opener isn’t the worst place for him to bat? He can be his current circumspect self early on, before getting the scoreboard ticking over once he’s set.

It actually sounds like solid casting, for mine.

Australia would undoubtedly prefer an opener who could rotate the strike and score some early runs freely, rather than just taking the proverbial shine off the new ball.

However, beggars can’t be choosers, and at present, Cam Green’s limitations should be preferred to David Warner’s more damaging limitations.