Ashes - Clarke: Warner could be selected

Australia captain Michael Clarke believes David Warner's recent suspension should not stop him from being selected for the first Ashes Test next week.

PA Sport
Ashes - Clarke: Warner could be selected
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David Warner, left, has not played since the Champions Trophy for Australia

Warner was suspended from all cricket until the series opener after it emerged he had thrown a punch at England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar hours after the hosts had beaten Australia in the Champions Trophy. That left many to conclude that Warner had no realistic chance of playing at Trent Bridge, but Clarke insists that is not the case.

Speaking after Australia settled for a draw against Worcestershire at New Road, Clarke said: "I think he's served his punishment. His punishment was no cricket up to the first Test match. Now it's about working out what our best team is. I don't believe David won't be selected because of punishment, I think that's been dealt with."

He added: "The selectors will take into consideration that he hasn't played much cricket in the last couple of weeks but with Davey it's more about his mind being clear and playing with intent.

"I don't think Davey is the type of player that needs two four-day games to runs and feel confident. If he's in the right place and batting well in the nets I have confidence that, if the selectors do pick him, he can walk straight into the first Test and make a hundred."

If anything, Clarke appeared to suggest that the incident with Root had been good for Warner. It has certainly forced him to confront his disciplinary issues and Clarke now sees a more dedicated squad member.

"He's had plenty of net sessions. He's been in the nets every day," said Clarke. "Just looking at him now he looks a lot fitter than he has been and he's been working extra hard.

"It's been tough, no doubt, but he understood the consequences at the time and I think he handled himself really well."

As well as the Warner issue, the Australia selectors - Arthur's replacement Darren Lehmann, Rod Marsh and John Inverarity - must also determine how best to balance the attack. None of those who appeared at Worcester will have furthered their case significantly as they took just four wickets on the final day to settle for a draw.

That leaves James Pattinson and Mitchell Starc virtually assured of sharing the new ball, while the off-colour Peter Siddle goes head to head with Jackson Bird and Ryan Harris, who struggled to extract much from a tame New Road deck.

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