- The Ashes 2013
Warner: I deserved Ashes drop
David Warner has admitted he needed the "kick up the bum" of being suspended and ultimately dropped from Australia's Test side after his punch at Joe Root in a Birmingham pub. Warner's ban over the incident cost him his place in the first two Tests at Trent Bridge and Lord's but he is firmly back in contention for a recall in the third Test at Old Trafford after his 193 during the ongoing match against South Africa A in Pretoria.
Warner was sent on the Australia A tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa after being left out of the Trent Bridge Test as the Australian camp sought a way to get him some game time following his suspension. His punch at Root on a night out during the Champions Trophy ultimately led to the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, but for Warner personally, losing his place in the national side after playing 19 consecutive Tests was a wake-up call.
"Sitting on the sidelines and copping that punishment and not being selected it was a thing that I needed," Warner said from South Africa. "I definitely needed a kick up the bum. It was my own fault the incident that happened. My job was then to support our players, support the rest of the group and do everything I could to help them prepare for the games. I did that and I know the other guys on the tour did the same thing. We've all been working very hard."
Warner's partnership with Ed Cowan at the top of Australia's Test order appears to have been permanently split, with Cowan having been dropped after the loss in Nottingham. If Warner returns at Old Trafford it will likely be at No.6, although his heavy scoring against South Africa A - 193 from 226 deliveries - came at No.4.
Although his scoring rate was typically quick, Warner impressed by surviving for more than five hours at the crease in Pretoria, against a South Africa A attack boasting the extremely promising pace pairing of Kyle Abbott and Marchant de Lange. His 193 was not his highest first-class score but it was his longest stay at the crease in quite some time, after a lean few months in all formats.
"I set myself a goal of wanting to bat three hours out there," Warner said. "I batted an hour in Zimbabwe and I decided here I'd just come in and be positive from the start and when the ball was there to hit, I hit it. That's how I played and it came off.
"I hadn't really played for about 40 days so with no cricket under my belt I was fortunate enough to be sent here and get some game time in. I know I would have had to wait until after the first two Tests to get any game time over there otherwise."
Had he stayed in England, Warner's first opportunity for some time in the middle would have come in the tour match against Sussex, which begins in Hove on Friday. Warner's innings means that Phillip Hughes and Steven Smith especially will be under pressure to post decent scores against Sussex in the lead-up to the Manchester Test.
One man who won't be scoring any runs in Sussex is Shane Watson, who has stayed in London along with some other members of the squad to train ahead of the third Test. Watson was the subject of a Twitter rant from David Warner's brother Steve during the Lord's Test, but Warner said he had nothing but support for Watson.
"A hundred percent. I get along with Shane very well," he said. "I thoroughly enjoy batting with Shane, I know what he does for the team and I know what a team player he is, not just on the field but in and around the group how he supports the guys. He's fantastic."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here