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regular-article-logo Thursday, 30 May 2024

I’m a leader in this team, no matter what, says Australia's David Warner

As the curtain comes down on an incredible Test career in Sydney, the third match of the series against Pakistan from Wednesday, Warner makes for an intriguing tale

Our Bureau Sydney Published 02.01.24, 05:48 AM
David Warner at the press conference in Sydney on Monday.

David Warner at the press conference in Sydney on Monday. Getty Images

David Warner loves being in the news. The opener has been part of Australian cricket’s most memorable, emotional and infamous moments during the past 13 years.

As the curtain comes down on an incredible Test career in Sydney, the third match of the series against Pakistan from Wednesday, Warner makes for an intriguing tale.

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Ahead of his home-ground farewell Test, Warner revealed he was prepared to walk away from Test cricket after the second match of last year’s Ashes at Lord’s if he had not scored runs.

“I said quite clearly in England before the World Test Championship, there was a lot of talk about me and my form, (and) I wanted to nip it in the bud early... I said my ideal preparation to finish would be Sydney,” Warner said at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Monday. “But I actually had Lord’s penciled in as my last Test, especially if I didn’t go as well as I did as a partnership with Uzzie (Usman Khawaja) at the top of the order.

“Then from there it just followed on that we played some good innings together. I didn’t have that hundred (in England) that I always wanted but eluded me. But as a team and as a whole we did our bit, so to get this ending is awesome, but it’s not about me, it’s about us. We’ve won the series, but to win 3-0 and have a whitewash here at the SCG would be a great thing.

“If you’re down 2-0, and you go into that third one, and you lose that, I don’t think it’s the right choice to make (to keep playing). It’s an easy exit. For me, a second (reason) was if I was failing and we hadn’t won, then it would have been an easier decision.”

Warner admitted that the emotions over the end of his Test career have grown in recent weeks.

“When I looked at Lord’s as a potential finish, I didn’t really have many emotions because I was content,” he said. “I might not have been scoring runs, but I still had the desire to play Test cricket. I love the game of cricket, it doesn’t matter what format I’m playing. But definitely, it’s been emotional since Perth, since I’ve been back in Australia and knowing that I’m playing (my final Test).

“Getting that 160, putting us into a great position for the team, it hit home when people in the streets were coming up and saying, ‘well done, we support you, we back you’. It really means a lot. The emotions probably started then.”

Warner paid an emotional tribute to his 13th and final Test opening partner, Usman Khawaja, his teammate since they first played together in the under-12s for Randwick.

He also spoke about still finding it difficult to talk about the passing of the late Phillip Hughes all these years later.

“For us, being here when he fell that day was quite sad and terrible. Still today, it hits us hard. I’ve always seen him at the other end. All the boys know he’s looking down upon us. Still hard to talk aboutit today because I think hewas going to be one of our greatest opening batters ever,” said Warner.

“He had every shot in the book. His character, his energy and his smile lit up the room. Best mates with everyone, no one would ever say a bad word about him and truly, truly believe today, if he was still with us, he’d be in my position or Uzzie’s position.”

Asked how he would like to be remembered as a Test cricketer, he said as someone who has “given his all”.

He said he has moved on that Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa in 2018 and the controversy surrounding the lifetime captaincy ban on him.

“When I look back at that, it could be handled differently. But I think Nick (Hockley, Cricket Australia’s chief executive) did his ultimate best to put that forward to the board and the decision was made, and I’m happy with that. I’ve moved forward from that,” Warner said.

“I’ve got opportunities to lead in the IPL, to lead in the ILT20. I’ve enjoyed my leadership roles.

“But for me, in recent years, I’ve learned that leadership (isn’t about) wearing a captain or vice-captain badges. For me, I’m a leader in this team, no matter what. You don’t need that C or VC next to your name.

“I know myself and my energy at times can be annoying, and I can be a pest, but I know that inside that changeroom it gets everyone up and about.”

Written with inputs from PTI, Reuters

ODI farewell with rider

Sydney: David Warner has announced his retirement from ODIs ahead of his final Test in Sydney while keeping the door ajar to play the 2025 Champions Trophy if Australia felt they needed him.

“I’m definitely retiring from one-day cricket as well,” he said at the SCG on Monday. “That was something that I had said through the World Cup, get through that, and winning it in India, I think that’s a massive achievement.

“So I’ll make that decision today, to retire from those forms, which does allow me to go and play some other leagues around the world and sort of get the one-day team moving forward a little bit. I know there’s a Champions Trophy coming up. If I’m playing decent cricket in two years’ time and I’m around and they need someone, I’m going to be available.”

Barring a surprise return in two years’ time, the World Cup final against India in Ahmedabad was Warner’s final ODI. He has a tally of 6932 runs at 45.30 with 22 centuries. He is Australia’s sixth-highest run-scorer in men’s ODIs and second on the hundreds list behind Ricky Ponting who played 205 more ODI innings.

“It was a decision that I was very, very comfortable with,” he said. “To win in India, from where we were, was absolutely amazing.

“When we lost two games in a row in India, the bond just got stronger... The heroics of Maxi (Maxwell), the captaincy and the skills and execution of the way that we played against India was phenomenal, and not to dismiss the Calcutta semi-final as well.”

Written with inputs from Reuters

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