The many sides of Warner

There's more to the diminutive batsman than the unbridled pace of his game and the occasional flying temper.

Published : Feb 27, 2018 17:08 IST

The image of Australia's David Warner leaning into a drive or jumping into a cut shot has become synonymous with the opener's aggressive brand of cricket.

And while some may be tempted to portray the southpaw as a limited-overs slogger - 4343 runs from 106 ODIs and 1792 runs from 70 T20Is -  the 21 Test centuries from 71 matches make him an equally thrilling prospect with the baggy green.

Yet, on a tour of South Africa in early 2014,  the flamboyant Warner; usually chirpy on the field,  spent "a couple of sleepless nights thinking" how he would face the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel; two pacers on top of their game at the time.

"How am I going to play these guys? How am I going to score runs? I think I put a lot of pressure on myself,” he told The Guardian.

“Then after that first inning at Centurion when I got out [I thought] ‘Just go out there and play cricket'."

“I came out and took the game on. I got bombarded with a fair few short-pitched balls. They didn’t really pitch much up, and I just backed my game plan.”

Warner chopped on to Steyn for a paltry five in the first innings at Centurion before crafting a potentially match-winning 115 off 208 balls. Australia won the three-Test series 2-1.

That was 2014. A lot has changed since. Australia is No. 3 in ICC Test rankings; 11 points behind second-placed South Africa which will lock horns with the Steve Smith-led side in four Tests starting March 1. And Warner knows it'll be a different ballgame.

“Now, it is about how am I going to still go out there and replicate what I did in the past because obviously, we are in the present now. So I have to start here, fresh,” he said.

But there's more to the diminutive batsman than the unbridled pace of his game and the occasional flying temper. This is the same man, who last year, spearheaded the campaign for the professional cricketers in their pay dispute with Cricket Australia. And Warner reckons, “One thing that has been embedded in me since a young age is that I grew up in a housing commission.

"I was taught to look out for myself, but also each other. I wouldn’t mind doing something. But, to that extent, I think I might keep my mouth shut a little bit.”

“If you believe in something you are going to have to fight for it, and I wasn’t going to stand down because we needed someone out there to speak about it," he added.

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