It’s been a wild ride for David Warner ever since his infamous cricketing ban for the incident in South Africa. He’d like to erase off his mind. One of the pioneers of white-ball cricket in this generation. David Warner had to wait out the storm. The rough patch of seeing Stuart Broad running from the other end in England. To get back to doing what he does best- compose insane cricketing knocks.
David Warner kicked off his re-initiation with the 2019. IPL where the Sunrisers Hyderabad assassin scored 692 runs at a strike rate of 143.86. Then followed that up with another 647 runs in England during the ODI World Cup. While there were signs that the carnage David Warner is capable of harnessing never left his stride. There was also a measured shift in his tendencies to pace his innings differently.
David Warner no longer hits top gear from the word go. He now likes to ease himself into his innings, consistently building tempo and rhythm before unleashing the frenzy. His new approach to playing a more waiting game – something he probably worked. A lot on during his break from international cricket- came under immense scrutiny during Australia’s World Cup campaign. But most of it wasn’t fair since it felt unnatural for a batsman of his rage-cricket tendencies.
However, David Warner will not pay much attention to these detractions. Since this measured approach along the lines of Rohit’s innings-building has worked well for him. Has given him an unmatched consistency in white-ball cricket this year. With already 4 tons to his name, all of them having come in the Indian Premier League. It was only a matter of time before Warner got his maiden T20I century. The international stage and Sri Lanka were extremely unfortunate to be on the opposite end of his wrath.
Having remained dismissed after scoring a century in just 56 balls. With his innings including ten 4s and four 6s. Warner took his tally to 1443 runs at 68.71 in limited cricket this year. But the innings was again built on a pedestal of calm before the storm. Warner looked increasingly focused and composed in his guarded approach to set up. The unrestrained assault towards the end.
Warner’s first boundary arrived in only the 10th delivery at the point. Where he had 7 runs from 9 balls by which time. His partner at the opposite end, Aaron Finch had raced to 24 off 17 deliveries. The stroke leading up to his first four came on the back of three dots. Which the left-hander was careful to judge and fend off.
Again, this was something we saw a lot in England. Where Finch led the charge at the top while Warner dropped back and let his partner do the talking with the bat while he just dropped the anchor Warner, though, would later reveal that his recent approach of letting Finch do the heavy-lifting to start with wasn’t always based on design, but had more to do with the dopamine-overdrive the Australian white-ball captain seems to be on at all times.
“It’s not a conscious effort. But if he gets three or four away, and I get only one ball at the other end, then I’ve only faced a couple of balls. It’s very hard to get the rhythm. If I get the ball there that I can put away, I can actually do that. But you’ve obviously got to play that situation. If he’s hit two or three boundaries and gets off the strike, you’ve already won the over. There’s no need for me to go hammer and tongs. I can just play the way I do and get him on strike and that’s how it pans out. It always pans out like that because he goes very hard and clears the fence a bit more than I do,” he’d say.
Between Warner’s two boundaries were the phase where he was locked on playing cricket by the book and either for his partner Finch to rotate the strike with or look for patches and gaps in the Adelaide Oval expanse to spray the ball into and scamper up and down the pitch for 1s and 2s.
Then came another wave of boundaries, another ride of the destruction tide. Warner quickly smashed three 4s and two 6s from the next 8 balls to get past his 50 before another spell of singles and doubles to ease Glenn Maxwell to the game and allowing him to take over the cavalry charge from the Australian skipper. Warner only hit two fours and a six of the following 18 balls he faced while Maxwell teed off, and he continued to, in fact, turn the strike over before ensuring he got to three figures for the first time in this format off the last ball of the innings.
And despite playing catch-up with his partners he still got there off just 56 balls. Warner would later emphasize how running hard and finding gaps that will be the blueprint for success with the bat during the T20 World Cup next year, just the way he did it.
“That’s the element to our game here in Australia if you want to win the World Cup next year, you’ve got to run really hard between the wickets. We’ve got big boundaries here. It’s not like in the IPL where if you don’t want to run, you can stand and deliver. I know a lot of teams use those boundaries and there’s going to be a lot of off-pace into the wicket, and a lot of short balls into the wicket, and it’s about us as batters working it out. They’re going to be very good wickets so as batters you don’t need to over-hit the ball here in Australia. As I said before, it’s about running and picking the gaps,” he said.
The highlight of the match and Warner’s man-of-the-match award-winning innings was the deft flick he produced off the front foot to a full-length delivery from Rajitha aimed at his pads which was carried well over the deep mid-wicket fence.
“It’s something I play quite often, especially in India given the boundaries are quite smaller there on some sides. It’s something you’ve always got to have in mind because a lot of bowlers are now bowling to the left-hander’s hips for example. You’re going to get a lot of that in the game. So you try and practice it. One thing from a batter’s point of view is you have to commit to your shot, then your timing will come into it,” he said.
It is especially a breath of fresh air to watch Warner tweak his game at this stage of his career and the rewards are there for all to see and Australia will hope they can reap the most benefits from it in the upcoming T20 World Cup at home next year.