David Warner is undoubtedly one of the biggest names in international cricket.
Even people might be there to criticise him for his attacking style of play, but he has a pretty good Test record and 21 Test centuries and is sheer proof of his credentials even in the longest format.
However, it was only four years ago that Warner made himself believe that he surely belongs in the Test format. It was during the tour of South Africa that Warner chalked out some plans to counter the lethal Proteas fast bowlers which had the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel in their ranks. After falling cheaply in the 1st innings, Warner made up the mind that he couldn’t repeat that.
“I remember there were a couple of sleepless nights thinking ‘How am I going to play these guys? How am I going to score runs? I think I put a lot of pressure on myself,” Warner was quoted as saying by the Guardian via the Final Word Podcast.
“Then after that first inning at Centurion when I got out [I thought] ‘Just go out there and play cricket.”
“I came out and took the game on. I got bombarded with a fair few short-pitched balls. They didn’t really pitch much up, and I just backed my game plan.”
Warner smashed a sensational hundred in the 2nd innings and followed it up with a couple of half-centuries in the Port Elizabeth Test. In the same series, Chris Rogers was about to retire from cricket while Michael Clarke had a broken arm.
“It was feisty,” remembers Warner. “An absolutely amazing series from a batsman versus bowler point of view.”
Yet he found perfect control and prospered. He will be back in South Africa in a few day’s time, and this time Australia will be playing four Tests instead of three.
“Now, it is about how am I going to still go out there and replicate what I did in the past because obviously, we are in the present now. So I have to start here, fresh,” says Warner.
It has been a hectic few days for Australia, as they have been playing non-stop cricket. After receiving the T20I Trophy on Wednesday night, he was on the flight to South Africa the very next day morning. Meanwhile, the Test series will conclude in April, and from there Warner will fly straight to India for the Indian Premier League.
“It is a question that I keep asking myself,” he says of whether this is sustainable. “It does have its challenges, but you are living the dream. I want to play cricket for Australia.”
“If there is an opportunity for me to play all three forms if the schedule dictates, I’ll want to play that. And that’s just how I’ve always been. People who know me, if I have one or two days off here and there, I am rejuvenated and refreshed.”
Meanwhile, Warner went on to state he loves leading the team in the absence of their regular skipper Steven Smith who surely deserves a rest. He brings the energy into the team.
“I just like having a responsibility,” he says. “I feel it is important we do have a senior player playing in all three formats.”
Meanwhile, in the last few years, Warner has not only benefited as a player. He has changed his attitude and is a more composed guy both on and off the field. He has taken to meditation and has quit drinking in the last two years. He also said he is less confrontational in the field as well.
However, by no means, he will let South Africa rest home the advantage in verbal duels. The metaphor of going to war was invoked when he made some comments before the recent Ashes series.
“It was amazing,” he laughs, “because I went to Google and typed in ‘war.’ And I looked up numerous sports stars, actors, and everything [sic] who have used the same terms in everyday stuff. It was just a beaten up thing, which is as normal.”
“But for me, it was about how I go about my business. You have to be in the zone. What gets me up and going is a little bit of banter. It’s not just an Ashes series, but the talk and the hype around Ashes.
You are always going to say something in the media. That’s what I love doing… [being] the pantomime villain. If you want to be that person you want to be. And that’s me. I love that in that series. And I’ll do it again if I get selected in the pending Ashes series next year.”
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