Paine backs Warner in home Test return

Australian captain Tim Paine (R) is backing David Warner in his home Test return against Pakistan.
Australian captain Tim Paine (R) is backing David Warner in his home Test return against Pakistan.

Tim Paine says you just have to listen when David Warner's in the nets to know he'll be just fine when Australia's Test summer begins against Pakistan at the Gabba.

Praising the opener's unwavering self belief, Australia captain Paine says Warner has moved on from his horror Ashes series and, alongside Steve Smith, can help the side bounce back from a forgettable home summer last season.

The pair were suspended a year ago when Australia lost 2-1 to India at home, returning to the Test fold as the side retained the Ashes in England.

Warner averaged just 9.5 in that series compared to Smith's 110.57, but Paine says both will make an impact when Australia begins the Test summer against Pakistan on Thursday.

"Hopefully a huge one, with runs," Paine said.

"We certainly enjoyed having them back last winter. Steve has added hell of a lot of runs, a hell of a lot of know-how and a lot of experience, and Dave's the same."

Paine did his best to explain why he thought Warner, who averages nearly 60 in Australia compared to 34.5 in Tests away from home, was in for a big summer.

"Just watching him the last few days, he looks like he's back to his best, the ball's making a different sound off his bat again," he said.

"But I think the best thing and the most pleasing thing about Davey was during the Ashes when he was in the worst form of his career he didn't change a bit, and a lot of players would.

"He's got unbelievable self belief and that's his main strength."

It will be an almost completely new-look top six to start the summer 12 months on from that India series, with recalled Travis Head the only constant.

Joe Burns will return to the top of the order while Marnus Labuschagne can make the No.3 spot his own after Usman Khawaja was left out of the squad.

They will have their hands full after Pakistan captain Azhar Ali indicated 16-year-old tearaway Naseem Shah would make his debut.

Paine, who mingled with Prime Minister Scott Morrison and AFL great Luke Hodge during Wednesday's training session, said they had prepared for that, as well as experienced leg-spinner Yasir Shah.

But he backed a hungry batting unit to embrace their return to the familiar surrounds of the Gabba, where Australia are unbeaten in Tests since 1988.

"It's no secret during the Ashes we relied probably too heavily on Steve," he said.

"The rest of our top seven are really keen to score a lot of runs and traditionally, we love batting in Australia.

"It's a great ground to bat on if you can get in and spend a lot of time out there, so our top six and seven are really looking forward to it."

Australian Associated Press