Australian T20 captain Aaron Finch says his opening partner David Warner is “a fighter” and will hit back hard from his Indian Premier League axing when the World Cup begins.
Warner, the fourth-highest run scorer ever in the IPL, was dumped as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad and then left out of the team completely after two innings returned scores of zero and two when the tournament resumed last month.
He was forced to watch several matches from his hotel room in the United Arab Emirates, with net sessions his only practice for the World Cup, having not played anywhere since the tournament was abandoned in April.
But Finch said Warner had been in “great spirits” after linking up with the Australian squad in Dubai and had full faith in him to fire when it mattered.
“Over the years we’ve seen when he’s got his back against the wall he’s a fighter. I’ve got no issues with the preparation he’s had,” Finch said.
“He’s come here in great spirits, he’s come here with a great attitude and that’s rubbing off on the boys. He’s organising things behind the scenes, he’s doing everything that he loves to do. I’ve got no issues and come game one he’ll be ready to go.”
The Australians will hit the tournament with mixed preparations, including Finch who is coming off knee surgery.
Warner was one of five Australians at the IPL, but only Glenn Maxwell and Josh Hazlewood played games, with Steve Smith only managing two appearances. Marcus Stoinis is still managing a hamstring injury suffered in his opening game.
The bulk of the squad is also coming out of an Australian winter into the heat of the Middle East, where temperatures hover in the mid to high 30s during the day.
Three of Australia’s group games will be played during the afternoon when conditions are at its most oppressive.
Finch, however, dismissed any suggestions his squad was underdone, with Australia set to play two crucial warm-ups against New Zealand and India before an October 23 tournament opener against South Africa.
“We understand the conditions have been pretty brutal over the last couple of weeks,” Finch said.
“The guys in the IPL are match hardened and used to them, the guys from Australia are off the back of a really strong pre-season with their state team. I think it should be fine. It has its challenges right across the board with the heat, but I’m sure all teams will be OK with it.”
Finch also declared he would be available for the warm-up matches, having progressed rapidly in his own recovery.
“Originally, it was touch and go to be available for the two warm-up games,” he said.
“But at the moment it looks like there’ll be no problems, so looking forward to getting out and back into it.”