Warner is starting to be envisioned as Australia’s future leader
Australia opening batsman David Warner has announced that he is still coming to terms with the increase in responsibility on his part.
Warner made his Test debut on December 1 in 2011 and has not missed a match, across all three formats, since then.
However, if Australia’s rotation policy were to spread from bowlers to batsmen, Warner would probably be the first person to be rested since he is a vital part of the national team’s batting lineup in all three formats, especially Twenty20 Internationals.
Warner had an extremely hectic schedule last year, which started off with six Tests at home and an ODI tri-series before heading off on tours of the West Indies, England, Ireland, the United Arab Emirates and Sri Lanka, all of which was topped off with the Indian Premier League (IPL) and Champions League Twenty20 (CLT20) which took place amongst all those series.
The opening batsman is starting to learn that besides the fatigue and pain, which comes with playing the sport, there is also a lot of change that occurs in cricketers’ personal lives due to their cricketing duties and responsibilities.
“It’s so busy,” Warner said. “It’s about keeping a clear mind and trying to be as fresh as I can. I’ve had to watch little things like picking the right time to go out and enjoy yourself with your mates or have a beer with the guys. It’s important, that stuff, and I probably didn’t realise how much actual cricket I was playing and the intensity.
“I was a bit worn down last year. In the 12 one-dayers that we played I didn’t score any runs in the first six or seven games. I had to walk away a little bit and just say to myself that I had to clear my mind. I had put a little bit of pressure on myself thinking that you can come out and score runs every game but you can’t.
“I came out and scored a hundred in Queensland and a hundred in Adelaide. Here I am almost a year later I have not missed a game. Touch wood I can keep going and keep scoring runs for Australia. I’m feeling better than I was last year. It does become mentally exhausting not being able to see your mates and enjoy yourself at home in the periods like this. But we choose this sport, we love this sport and I love doing it.”
With Warner being omnipresent across all three squads, many of his team-mates and coach Mickey Arthur are starting to envision him as more of a leader.
Arthur even went as far as saying that Warner has the ability to lead the Australian side in any of the three formats in the future.
After the retirement of veteran Ricky Ponting, Arthur spoke to Warner about stepping up and assuming a larger amount of responsibility.
“I’m playing all three forms so I should be considering myself as a leader,” Warner said. “They’ve had a word to me about trying to be the senior person now and trying to set standards of our Australian way. Whether we’re doing a fielding drill or we’re batting out the back, just keep in mind that we’re training our backsides off and make sure everyone’s doing the right thing.”
Warner’s opening partnership with Ed Cowan has become so successful that they scored more runs than any other opening pair in Test cricket last year.
Cricket Australia have also made it clear that they do not wish to make Warner change anything about his attacking mindset in Test cricket, but the flamboyant opening batsman knows that he has to become more patient, which is where he looks to Cowan for help.
“Ed’s the type of guy, he takes the brains out there in the middle with us,” Warner said. “He’s the one who keeps me cool. He can identify periods where if I’m going and it’s close to lunch, he’ll just say to me ‘still play your shots but just be mindful that lunch is around the corner’. You need the brains there. He’s a guy who’s very smart. I reckon he’s too smart for cricket.
“He keeps a cool head out there all the time. When he’s under pressure he finds a way to block out everything that’s around him and just bat. Ed has just shown himself with his character and the strong mind that he has, that he can just block the littlest things out. It’s an amazing thing to have him at the other end to help guide you through.”
With Warner and Cowan having established themselves as a formidable opening pair and having Phillip Hughes coming in at one down, Warner is hopeful that the trio can create an even larger reputation for themselves when they tour India next month before clashing with arch-rivals England in their back-to-back Ashes series.
“The most important thing for us [is] getting through that tough [new-ball] period,” Warner said. “If we can get through to lunch without losing more than one wicket, we think that our job’s been done. It’s about consolidating and going on with it and trying to get big hundreds. If we’re facing 200 balls we should be a hundred. If we can keep meeting our own standards we should be fine.”