The rapid transformation of David Warner

David Warner courted trouble for punching Joe Root in a bar and was promptly suspended. He had issues that did not present him as a pleasant cricketer. But his transformation was rapid. Warner was elevated as a deputy to skipper Steve Smith. He is now expected to perform and deliver, which he does more often than not.

PTI

Eight fifties in 16 innings in this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) place David Warner in a special category.

David Warner is not a classicist. He is a performer of vast magnitude. He can win a match on his own. What more can a captain desire? But then he is the captain too. He leads with the bat, leaving his opponents floundering and eventually burying them under an avalanche of robust shots, well illustrated by his 58-ball 93 at Ferozeshah Kotla against Gujarat Lions (GL).

“It was an amazing knock, wasn’t it? The way that he controlled the innings the whole way through and went right through and got them home was outstanding.” This was not one of Warner’s partners from Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). This came from Aaron Finch of GL. Finch reads his Australian teammate well enough.

Warner’s batting has evolved from the time he made a rollicking T20 debut in 2009 with a 43-ball 89 against South Africa at Melbourne. He had not played first-class cricket then. But gradually, he displayed his repertoire. He carried his bat in a Test; hit a century in each innings twice – against South Africa at Cape Town and India at Adelaide, the latter coming in agonizing circumstances as the world of cricket lost Phillip Hughes.

Not that Warner was perched on a pedestal. He courted trouble for punching Joe Root in a bar and was promptly suspended. He had issues that did not present him as a pleasant cricketer.

But his transformation was rapid. Warner was elevated as a deputy to skipper Steve Smith. He came to realize his responsibility as a senior member on the international circuit, and settled into a role that gave a remarkable twist to his image. He is now expected to perform and deliver, which he does more often than not.

Eight fifties in 16 innings in this edition of Indian Premier League (IPL) place Warner in a special category. His innings are match-defining because of his flair to dominate. He is a master at orchestrating a chase, adept at forcing the pace and picking the vacant areas. Innovations are part of his occupation of the crease but there is a discerning impact the stocky Australian makes with his strokeplay. They carry the mark of a champion.

His aggregate of 779 is second to Virat Kohli’s 919 and ahead of AB de Villiers’ 682. Kohli, enjoying the form of his career, bats on his terms, but also with the cushion of having AB and Chris Gayle in his batting line-up. For Warner, support comes from Shikhar Dhawan. But there is no denying that his solo shows turn the contest on its head.

Virender Sehwag had inspired him with a “you will be a better Test cricketer” remark but the 29-year-old Aussie has proved his scoring skills in all formats of the game with judicious shot selection. Going by his steady growth, one is convinced that his best is in store.