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Cricket World Cup 2019: Warner will only play if fully fit, says Australia coach Langer

By Opta
David Warner doubtful for Australias World Cup opener after sustaining a gluteal injury in training

Bristol, May 31: Justin Langer is hopeful David Warner will be fit to open the batting for Australia against Afghanistan but insisted no risks will be taken.

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Defending champions Australia start their Cricket World Cup campaign in Bristol on Saturday (June 1).

Warner, along with ex-captain Steve Smith, has returned to Australia's squad after serving a one-year suspension for involvement in last year's ball-tampering scandal.

However, doubts remain over whether the 32-year-old will be able to feature at the County Ground, after sustaining a gluteal injury in training.

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And Langer, who confirmed Warner underwent a fitness test on Thursday (May 30) and will be assessed again on Friday (May 31), said if there are any lingering doubts over the opener's fitness he will not be risked.

"He was a bit sore on Wednesday. He's just a bit sore in his right glute. He is desperate to play, he'd love to play like all 15 players would," the Australia coach told a news conference.

"He's jumping out of his skin, his energy is up. He's really keen but we’ve got to make sure he can move, particularly in the field.

"What I've expressed to him is that it's really important to be fair to the other players as well.

"We don't want to get to Saturday then make a call with a couple of guys wondering if they are going to play. The earlier the better, he knows that and collectively we're really strong on that.

"We've got to make sure we don't aggravate it early in a long tournament. He will open in the first game if he's fit."

Warner and Smith were both heckled during the warm-up game against England last Saturday and, although he understands that the players' actions will not be forgotten, Langer pleaded with spectators to realise that the duo have paid for their mistakes.

"We have talked about it a lot," Langer said.

"We are expecting it. That said, when it happens, it doesn't make it any easier. You can talk about it as much as you like but that doesn't make it any easier.

"I mean, they are human beings and that's the truth. That's where I find it hard.

"You know, you feel for them personally. They are going to have to have thick skin. We have talked about earning respect.

"It is really important that people show some respect as well. Because they are humans, they are really good cricketers. They made a mistake. They have paid the price for it."

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Story first published: Friday, May 31, 2019, 3:40 [IST]
Other articles published on May 31, 2019
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