Adelaide Test, Australia v India – Day One: The Simplicity of David Warner.

David Warner has always struck me as a pretty simple bloke. And I say that with a fair dose of admiration and envy.

He appears someone who wouldn’t clutter his day with negative, unnecessary thoughts or emotions. He’s either sad or happy; usually the latter. He smiles on rainy days, gets all the news he needs from the Today show and always answers the question of how he’s travelling in the same relaxed manner: ‘Good mate, yourself?’

Warner approaches his cricket similarly: see ball, hit it hard. When he first entered the Twenty/20 team, bombing sixes deep into the MCG stands against the South Africans, he looked like a carefree kid on summer holidays on McGennan’s Beach, Warrnambool, hitting catches to his mates in the water.

Warner’s elevation to the Test team appeared premature (isn’t that the case for many these days?). He was self-assured and went at bowlers like a school kid at a canteen, but was also cross-batted, with little footwork as a result of his time in the shorter forms. He scored some runs but lacked consistency.

In England 18 months ago, Warner repeatedly closed the face of his bat, hitting across the line through mid-wicket and square leg. His technique was flawed and opposition players and fans let him know. This wiped the cheeky smile from his face for a while.

At a crossroad in his career, Warner had to improve if he wanted to make it on the Test scene. Not many would have been surprised if he had shrugged his shoulders and chosen a career filling his boots with the big coin on offer in the Twenty/20 circus.

But he didn’t. Warner went away and worked on his technique and by the time England arrived here last summer, he was offering the full face of his bat and hitting forward of the wicket more.

Warner plundered but spoilt the party somewhat by shooting his mouth off at press conferences. Obviously sent out in front of the cameras by management to wind up the opposition, who knows how fully aware he was of the guile behind it all. There were sharper tools than he in the sheds calling the shots. Warner had a bit of the John Elliot half-cut on The Footy Show about him.

His twin-century, Man of the Match effort in Cape Town – and Man of the Series – showed how much he had improved and matured.

Today, India’s bowlers, perhaps due to circumstances, opened apologetically. Warner was served full-pitched, wide of the off-stump balloons, which were sent to the cover fence. Aaron eventually sent down a bouncer and everyone exhaled and got on with it.

By the time Ishant Sharma came on and produced a maiden, it was too late. Rogers and Watto got edges, but Warner was finding the middle too easily. On 50 and 63 he lifted his bat and looked to heaven, and his century, off 106 balls, received the customary leap into the air and hug from partner Clarke, but it was low-key compared to the usual theatrics.

With Clarke retiring hurt, Warner may have an unofficial leadership role thrust his way for the remaining Tests. This is the next step in his development.

Tuesday is my day-off work and usually spent running around town doing errands. Today however, perhaps with all that has happened, I felt the need to have an indulgent day in front of the cricket. I listened to Richie’s simple tribute to Phil Hughes on my radio in a coffee shop while trams and traffic banged along Moreland Road and then got home in time for the first ball. With the TV turned down and the good old ABC turned up, I settled in. I read the paper, hung out the washing, let Mr Binky, Eloise’s rabbit, out for a run, prepared dinner and ironed a shirt, while the commentary purred peacefully away in the background. Test cricket’s back and we’re so lucky to have it.

Comments

  1. Malcolm Ashwood says

    Excellent , Andrew , Warner is certainly the most destructive and arguably the best batsman in test cricket at the moment

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