‘A kick up the backside is what I really needed’, admits David Warner

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“I now know you can’t take anything for granted”

Australia opening batsman David Warner has admitted that “having a kick up the backside is what I really needed” after he was involved in numerous controversies over the past couple of months.

Warner started off by getting into a war of words with two News Limited journalists via Twitter.

He was then suspended for punching England batsman Joe Root at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham during the Champions Trophy in June.

Following the recent Ashes series in England, which Australia lost 3-0, Warner started to find his form with the bat in the Ryobi Cup, where he scored three centuries in four matches.

However, his most recent controversy came in October, when he was handed a one-match ban by New South Wales for skipping their match against Victoria to have a personal training session and spend an afternoon at the Randwick Racecourse.

“I probably haven’t been in this form to date in my career. I’m raring to go,” Warner said in Brisbane today. “It feels like I’m back at home again. I now know you can’t take anything for granted and having a kick up the backside is what I really needed. You can go through the motions, two and a half years on the road is quite tough and you don’t realise how much you miss being at home and doing your normal routines, going to the beach, going to the movies and whatnot.

“I’ve learnt how to respect my body. You need sleep to recover a lot and I probably wasn’t getting enough sleep. I usually don’t like going to bed before 12 o’clock because I’ve probably played out the game too much in my head, thinking about the training session the next day or the game the next day. I’ve learnt how to calm down and work a bit more on that with Michael Lloyd, our sports psych.

“We train three, four days leading into a Test match. You take that as a nine-day approach. If you’re going to have a drink, or not get as much rest, or not do your recovery process right, you’re going to be really sore. And then with the Test matches so close to each other, you don’t have that rest period. When you win a Test match you do have a couple of beers after the game … but if you’re doing it three or four days out from a big Test or something, it’s going to affect your performance. I’ve learnt that now and I’ve come out the other end smiling and actually enjoying my cricket.”

Warner also attributes his excellent form as of late to the fact that he has returned to the attacking mindset and approach he first had when making his international debut.

After having worked with Trent Woodhill and Australia batting coach Michael Di Venuto, Warner is confident his aggressive strokeplay and mindset will help him be successful against England in the upcoming Ashes series, which gets underway on November 21 in Brisbane.

“If I just concentrate on looking to score, my defence takes care of itself,” Warner said. “I was too worried about trying to be so defensive and then attacking.

“That’s what I worked on when I went back to work with Trent and what I’m working on now with Michael di Venuto. You look at guys like myself, Steve Smith, Nic Maddinson and Phil Jaques in the latter part of his career, who have worked with Trent, that’s the philosophy he goes on.

“We talk about intent – if you’re not looking to score, I feel that person who’s bowling to you has already got the upper hand, because you’re looking to defend. I’m at my most vulnerable when I’m looking to defend. If I’m not looking to score – yes, if I look to score and I nick off, so be it, but I’ve got to be looking to score and have that intent because if I’m not looking to score I have no intent at all.”

Despite having lost 3-0 against England in August, Warner believes that England are “probably fearing us” since “they know that we mean business”.

“I actually think they’re probably fearing us. They know that we mean business,” Warner said. “I think they know that those little moments that they won were the key to them winning the series 3-0. And we know that those key moments were us losing the series 3-0. We’ve identified what we need to work on come those key moments again. It’s there for us to take it this summer.”

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