Perth, Dec 3

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fter former Australia fast-bowler Johnson launched a scathing attack over David Warner's selection for the first Test against Pakistan starting from December 14, chief selector George Bailey came out in support of the left-handed opener, saying he is still the best option to open alongside Usman Khawaja.

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Earlier this year, Warner expressed his wish to finish his Test career at the third and final Test against Pakistan at his home ground in Sydney. Although Warner has been in exceptional form in white-ball cricket, he has only averaged 31.79 since the start of 2020 and made only 285 runs at an average of 28.50 in five Ashes Tests this year.

"Ultimately, we still think he's in our best 11 players to win the first Test. I think Test cricket, in terms of the way that the World Test Championship points is set up, each Test is critical. There's points on the line for each and every game."

"So our focus is very much on picking the 11 that we think can do the job and obviously there's roles within that for each individual and how that actually structures up the team as a whole and we think David is the right person for that for this Test," said Bailey to reporters.

Talking further about Warner, Bailey said, “Clearly Dave would like to get through the series and finish up in Sydney, and we fully respect that. We’ve been pretty consistent around the fact that with any player, it’s how they perform as an individual, and how that performance actually fits into the function of the team, and that won’t change.”

“We get the advantage of having a home Test series and being able to name a squad Test by Test. And not specific to Dave, but I think all players, it’s about performing and how that fits into the team that will determine the make-up of a side in any given Test.”

Bailey also pointed out that replacing Warner in Australia's Test side may become a long ride, just like how it became when searching for a replacement for Shane Warne from 2007 to 2011.

"That ability to put the opposition under pressure is pretty special, and not to be taken lightly. Whenever you've had someone who's had that longevity and been so dominating in a role, (it's important) just to temper the expectations of whoever is going to be the replacement there."

"I think back to Warnie finishing up as a spinner and how many spinners got brought in and shuffled out in the quest to almost try and replicate Warnie. I don't think you ever try and replicate someone who's played a role for as long as someone has done it as well as they have."

"I'd put David in that category, the way he's opened the batting for Australia for such a long period of time. So that's something that we're certainly conscious of making sure that that fit post-David is the right one."

Warner is still in our best 11 players to win first Test: Geroge Bailey

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