Warner Embraces Calm Avatar With The Ashes Of The Struggle For > Cricket News, cricinfo, mobilecric, cricbuzz, livescore and more
Cricket news - Warner embraces calmer avatar with Ashes fight in sight
On Wednesday (July 24), Jason Roy walked out on Test debut in testing conditions at Lord's trying to bat like David Warner of old and fell by the wayside. Some 134 km at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, David Warner walked out to bat in testing conditions and tried not to bat like David Warner of old, and ended up looking the most accomplished of the batsmen on show. What's more, Warner actually enjoyed not being his old self and even made it to point to rave about how much he enjoyed "the scrap", being someone nobody ever expected him to be.
It's been a different Warner ever since he returned to international cricket during the World Cup. Even though he finished as his country's highest run-getter in the tournament by a significant margin, there was more talk about the rate at which he scored them, and it was almost like the world wasn't ready for the diminutive Australian opener to suddenly morph into a risk-free accumulator of runs. But it's an avatar that Warner seems to be growing more and more comfortable with and it's paying rich dividends too already.
On an up-and-down pitch in Southampton, where the ball has moved in the air and off the pitch and tested every faculty of every batsman who's walked out in the Australia v Australia A warm-up game, Warner looked the most convincing of all batsmen on either side and has faced the most number of deliveries across two innings -- all of 105.
"It was great for our mentality to go out there and switch from white ball to red ball and you couldn't have asked for more exciting conditions. You are not expecting a wicket to go up, down, sideways and swing. You had five different elements to deal with and I thought it was a great hit-out for myself personally and a lot of the other guys as well. It just puts it in the back you mind that it's not going to be easy and you have to try and find a way to score," he said after having scored a 94-ball 58 earlier in the day, which included a number of well-timed boundaries on a surface where hardly anyone got bat to ball convincingly. The 32-year-old left-hander also believed that the team couldn't get "any practice better than" facing the high-quality Australian pace attack in these conditions.
That the pugnacious Warner loves a scrap wouldn't surprise anyone, except when it's to do with his batting. If anything, the reason Roy was likened to him--some even referring to him as England's Warner--was the relative sameness in their pathway to winning a Test cap--both white-ball wonders who their respective selectors gambled on for the longer format--and their similarly free-flowing approach to batting. Having missed out on a whole year of high-level cricket, and seemingly hungrier than ever before to score runs for Australia, Warner has undergone a significantly impressive transformation. And while it's already worked wonders for him in white-ball cricket, he's looking good at the moment to replicate it in the Ashes, when he makes his Test comeback a week from now in Birmingham.
Warner attributed his new fondness for gritting it out in the middle for his runs to the time he spent playing grade cricket during his one-year ban.
"Playing grade cricket at home helped me a lot with patience and having to wait to score. The fields they set were very obscure, there was no pace on the ball, regulation balls and they had deep point which was like 10 in front which was very unusual and I asked the guys at the other end 'how am I going to get behind point' and I just couldn't, so I had to scrap and I really enjoyed that. It made me wait for the ball and I had to scrap for those runs," he said. He also recalled the advice he'd received from his former opening partner, Chris Rogers, with whom he teamed up at the top of the order during the last Ashes in England four years ago.
"I've sort of adapted that out here for that white ball and there it was quite challenging and I had to find a way to, as Bucky (Rogers) always said to me at the other end 'if it hits the inside edge you've got to take that like a boundary' in a compliment, it's going to be very tough, so I've always got that in the back of my mind," he said.
The Edgbaston Test will not just be the closure that Warner and Steve Smith will seek to the Cape Town episode that took away 12 months of their respective international careers, it will also be a chance for the opener to set his record straight in a country, where he's got runs but never a big score--his highest being 85 he got at The Oval in 2015--and an average of 37 in 8 previous Tests.
"I haven't got a hundred. I think when I look back and reflect on how I've played over here, I fought hard, in the first innings I think besides one dismissal I got some pretty good balls, and that's what happens in this game and you've got to try to forget about that and don't overthink it. I know the Lord's Test I was a bit upset and missed out with  and the other boys got 200. They're always in the back of your mind, but now it's just a bit hungrier and determined to play that longer innings," he said.
Warner then referred to his previous self to once more ascertain how different his attitude is towards batting these days.
"I think you saw that during the white ball that I hung in there a lot, the old me probably would have thrown the bat at it quite often and today that was all I was focusing on, making sure my feet and my decision making was on point. I was happy with that but I've got to try to get those three figures."
It's not just with his batting style that Warner seeks to attain a sense of perpetual calm, it's in the mind too, and he's been trying different techniques to fulfil it. He'd already previously spoken about having his headphones on and listening to calming music. On Wednesday, he was seen striking a few meditative poses while stretching after the end of play, and he reiterated his quest to staying relaxed at all times, not just with bat in hand.
"That's probably why I had Lewis Capaldi (a 22-year-old Scottish songwriter and singer known for his brooding indie-pop music) on my playlist ... a bit mellow. 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. The other guys laugh at me but that's how it is. I'm trying to train to get myself ready. I did it at home while I had the time off. I go running with the headphones in and it makes me feel like I don't want to stop after I'm a kilometre in," Warner revealed.
In a game, which has seen 32 wickets fall in two days and is set to finish a day earlier than it was scheduled, Warner also had praise for the scrappiness at the crease shown by a couple of his colleagues--opener Cameron Bancroft and Marnus Labuschagne, who top-scored for his team in the first innings but was trapped lbw cheaply in the second.
"You know what he's (Bancroft) like, he scraps away, he's very good at that. We saw the way he did play out there, he had good intent, he was moving his feet forward and committing. Standing at one (first slip) I was saying this yesterday, I could see a lot of the guys' techniques from behind the stumps. Everyone is scrapping as hard but I know the bowlers were saying with him, when we put it in our areas you feel like you're going to nick off a lot of the guys, and for the guys that actually had that attention to detail and adapt, they've done very well."
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