The Ashes: Australia Announce Playing XI, David Warner Included Despite Neck Scare

The Australia cricket team playing XI was announced by captain Steve Smith on Wednesday for the first Ashes Test against England starting at The Gabba, Brisbane on Thursday. Star opener David Warner was included in the playing XI despite suffering a neck injury. Smith said injuries were "part and parcel of playing cricket" and that Warner's condition had improved a "fair bit", and he is expected to play in the first Test. Warner, the team's vice-captain, hurt his neck while taking a high catch during training earlier this week.

"He's very confident and he says he'll be right to go," Smith told reporters ahead of Thursday's Ashes opener at The Gabba.

"He'll be OK. It's part and parcel of playing cricket. Guys have injuries every now and then and have little niggles.

"He's improved a fair bit over the last 24 hours and hopefully he can keep improving and be 100 percent at match time."

Smith quipped: "He said he'll even bat like (West Indian) Shivnarine Chanderpaul (side-on batting stance), if he has to."

Smith said that Australia were thinking about putting a replacement option on standby.

"There's a good chance someone will be in as cover but I'm not sure who at this stage... they're thinking about it at the moment," he said.

Fast bowlers Chadd Sayers and Jackson Bird were left out of the team after being chosen in the original 13-man squad.

Australia squad for 1st Ashes Test: David Warner, Cameron Bancroft, Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith (capt), Peter Handscomb, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood, Nathan Lyon.

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