David Warner is reportedly set to take over captaincy duties at the Delhi Capitals for the 2023 IPL season as he fights for his place in Australia's Test team.
The veteran opening batsman seemed to be under the pump for his spot as far back as the home summer but held onto the role at the top of the order alongside Usman Khawaja for long enough to score a double-century against South Africa in the Boxing Day Test at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
The stay of execution at the top of the order for Warner however didn't bring an overall form reversal, with poor scores in Sydney, before continuing that with more cheap departures in the first two Tests of the Border-Gavaskar series against India.
It was the second Test of that series which would ultimately be his last, with Warner fracturing his forearm and returning to Australia for treatment.
He has returned to India for the three-match ODI series which kicks off on Friday evening, but will need to score runs in all formats of the game to starve off the challenge from Travis Head, who replaced him and succeeded in India, and Tim Ward, who has been picked for the 'A' team's tour of New Zealand next month.
Those matches, on green seaming pitches and using the Dukes ball, could see Tasmania's Sheffield Shield opening batsman force his way into the Ashes squad, putting Warner's spot under more pressure.
Despite that, head coach Andrew McDonald this week said that Warner was still very much in the plans for the World Test Championship final in June against India, which will immediately be followed by a five-Test series against England for the Ashes.
"At the moment Dave's fully in our plans for the World Test Championship," McDonald said.
"He's coming back (to India) for the one-day series, he's recovered from his injury.
"We are continually talking to our senior players with what they have coming up, juggling the schedule that's in front of us.
"We are staring down 274 days on the road – 144 for the red-ball team, 130 for the white-ball team.
"So there's going to be some give and take within that."
Warner's preparation will raise significant question marks though given his previous struggles in England, where he averages just 26 in Test cricket.
Instead of having a prolonged run in county cricket, as Steve Smith will do, Warner is expected to be named as captain of the Delhi Capitals in the IPL.
CricInfo is reporting that Warner's spot as captain is almost a formality. An impressive leader in the tournament previously when playing for the Royals, Warner's leadership qualities and cricket smarts are well-regarded, and it's understood the team will use him to replace Rishabh Pant, who is still recovering from a car crash in January that also ruled him out of the Border-Gavaskar series that India won 2-1.
It's understood the IPL final will be played just a week before the WTC Final, which will create headaches for both Australia and India in terms of preparation and acclimatising to the conditions which will be present in England.
Rahul Dravid, who now works for the BCCI, has admitted publically that preparing for the WTC Final on such short notice after the IPL finals will be a challenge, with most Indian players taking part in the tournament on home soil.