Who remembers a sorrowful, hiccupping David Warner in that disgracing press conference in Sydney where he admitted to masterminding the infamous ball-tampering saga at The Newlands? As he traversed through an emotional meltdown, the belligerent Australian opening batsman resigned to the fact that he may never represent the gold or white of Australia in international Cricket again. Shortly after this, Warner was stripped off his official sponsors and his participation to the upcoming IPL 2018 also came to an abrupt, sorry, conclusion.
Fifteen months on, time proved that Warner was utterly wrong in conceding that he might never wear Australia’s international kits again. Because now, the bull of New South Wales is back to his usual routine of piling up runs upon runs for Australia and playing match-winning knocks for his country. He is back in the opening spot, quickly regaining his position as the backbone of the top order. This tumultuous rise to the top-draw, however, didn’t really escalate from the commencement of the World Cup. Rather, the Southpaw had given indications of his ominous form in the IPL preceding the mega-event.
Once again, Warner proved to be a vital cog for Sunrisers Hyderabad and managed to bag the Orange cap in what proved to be a stellar IPL season for the Aussie. With eight fifties and a ton to his name, Warner amassed a staggering 690 runs and made for himself a certain case for the World Cup. He had only gotten a sniff thus far and it was evident that he was ravenous to do more, to somehow win back the respect and adoration of the Australian public and the Cricket fans scattered all around the globe.
Right from the word go, Warner’s tenacity and steadfastness were on display. Initially he struggled to find the right timing and his Strike Rate was no way near to what we were used to seeing and savoring. His sluggish 56 off 84 deliveries against India when the Aussies were chasing a mammoth total in the vicinity of 350, was deeply chastised and Aaron Finch was bombarded with several such questions in his post-match presser. Despite putting up solid performances, albeit by his standards slow, doubts and question marks began to rise on the left-hander’s intent.
It was only in the game against Pakistan on a chilly day at Taunton that David Warner of the old surfaced. Excellent hand-eye coordination, energetic foot movement, boisterous calls, balanced poise and posture and the whiplash effect of hitting both through and across the line were all synced together as he brought up a battling hundred to keep Australia in the hunt. This was, indeed, as many had dearly waited, followed by his trademark leap of jubilation; David Warner’s very own leap of gold that probably ingrained a remarkable turnaround to his international career.
The journey through the tournament wasn’t particularly a walk in the park. Warner had a lot to consider and even more to ponder over. He had to keep upping the ante as far as scoring runs at a modern-day rate was concerned but also had to deal with the jeering taunts that he was assaulted with by the English fans. Every time he was fielding on the fence and went strolling out of the inner ring to collect the ball from the stands or marched out in his batting attire towards the 22 yards, fans would rush down the aisles towards the fences to hurl hostile abuses towards the man who sure was a villain in international Cricket at this time, a year ago.
But the white noise, as he once referred to these hoots and snipes, doesn’t ruffle Warner at all. In fact, he has begun to feel he thrives on these. He has went as far as wearing ear pods while batting in the nets and listening to mellow music most of the time. “Yeah, definitely. That’s probably why I had Lewis Capaldi on my playlist … a bit mellow,” Warner said, speaking about the subtle change in his way of going about things. “For me it’s about just relaxing when I’m out there. I always am relaxed but I think just at training you try different things and for me it’s working. I enjoy that…” It’s true that the combative, bellicose David Warner who would jibe at everything and who stooped down into an embarrassing abyss after the Newlands scandal, never returned.
Following the newly found redemption against Pakistan, Warner would go on to stockpile more runs as the marquee Cricketing event progressed. His 166 against Bangladesh and 122 against South Africa were the prominent highlights as he notched up a total of 647 runs at an exceptional average of 71.9. The left-handed opener fell one run short of Rohit Sharma’s 648 to bag the Most Runs accolade but he had done enough to be showered by well-deserved praises from the Cricketing fraternity and more importantly, cement a spot for the Ashes.
With the Ashes 2019 looming just around the corner, David Warner is a man with a definite mission in the estranged lands of England. It’s nearly two decades now since Australia last brought the remnants of the urn back from the United Kingdom. He has been named in Paine’s infantry to battle it out in the chilly, treacherous conditions that will be on offer. England, for long, has been a dreaded land for the men coming in from Down Under. English tours and English crowds can have a tormenting effect on a player’s psyche and amidst the boos and the sneering jeers that will welcome Australia, Warner’s newly-equipped mode of keeping it placid and relaxing it out might well do the job for him and his country. All of a sudden, he is a warrior with a silent struggle, undetainable because he has nothing to lose, functional and efficacious because he has everything to gain.