Clarke says Warner could feature in Ashes despite recent ban

Johannesburg, July 6 (ANI): Australian captain Michael Clarke has said that suspended batsman David Warner could still take part in next week's first Ashes Test against England despite his recent ban.

Warner was suspended by Cricket Australia (CA) from all cricket until the Ashes opener at Trent Bridge after it was revealed he had punched England's Joe Root in a bar following the hosts' ICC Champions Trophy win over their arch-rivals, Sport24 reports.

According to the report, Clarke would not have a formal say in selecting the side to play England as he was stood down as a selector after the sacking of former coach Mickey Arthur, although his backing for Warner was clear after Australia settled for a draw in their final warm-up match against Worcestershire.

Stating that he believed that Warner had served his punishment, the skipper said that there is no chance that Warner will not be selected because of his ban as it has been dealt with, adding that it is about working out what their best team is.

According to Clarke, the selectors will take into consideration that Warner has not played much cricket in the last couple of weeks, although he added that the former opener should have a clear mind and play with intent if he is selected.

Clarke further said that he does not think that Warner is the type of player that needs two four-day games to get runs and feel confident, adding that he is confident that Warner can walk straight into the first Test and make a hundred if he is in the right place and batting well in the nets.

Stating that Warner had knuckled down to training since his ban, Clarke also said that he has had a number of net sessions and looks much fitter than he has been before, adding that Warner had understood the consequences of his action and has handled himself well after the incident.

Australia's selectors-John Inverarity, Rodney Marsh and new coach Darren Lehmann, also have to decide on the composition of the team's bowling attack.

The length of Warner's ban led to a widespread belief there was no realistic way the batsman could feature when Australia begin their bid to regain the Ashes in Nottingham on July 10, the report added. (ANI)