David Warner has seen an extended lean patch in Test cricket that culminated in a horror India tour, where he average a paltry nine runs/dismissal. Since 2022, the opener averages a modest 26.3. The number dips sharply to 17.7, if we exclude the double ton against South Africa in last year's boxing day text.
However, Mark Taylor feels that Warner should be given the first two Ashes tests, apart from the WTC finals, to fight for his spot at the top of the Australia batting lineup.
"If I am reading the tea leaves right, it sounds like they will stick with David for the World Test Championship at The Oval, and if that's the way Australia are thinking about the World Test Championship, then yes, they have to start with him for the Ashes.
It would be very hard to have Usman Khawaja and Warner open the batting and then change a week later for the first Test at Edgbaston. Whoever they think is our best opening combination for the World Test Championship, should do the first three Tests of the summer," the former Test captain told AAP.
On potential backup options for David Warner, Taylor believes Cameron Bancroft should be given another shot at international cricket. The Western Australian keeper-batter last featured in the 2019 Ashes tour, and has been in top form in the Sheffield Shield, where he was top run scorer in the recent edition.
"My old way of thinking, I always like a right-and-left-hander combination. So I would love to see Cameron Bancroft get another opportunity at the top of the order," he said. "I see Renshaw has been making runs in New Zealand [for Australia A], but Bancroft has made a heap of runs in the Australian summer."
Another reason why Taylor has Marcus Harris below the other two, in the pecking order, is their superior fielding abilities; a facet that often goes under the radar in Test cricket.
"One thing I do like about Bancroft, which I also like about Renshaw, is their ability to catch in the field. In the next year or two, we're going to need to find two openers. The one thing that has worried me about Marcus Harris is his fielding.
The way this series is looking like panning out, fielding is going to be crucial. I think that will go against someone like a Marcus Harris, whose fielding is not great."