Thanks for everything, Dave: how Warner forged a name for himself as an Australian champion
On a beautiful morning, under a flawless blue sky, a massive stadium is filled with spectators eagerly waiting for something to happen.
A punch, a punch through mid-wicket or a gentle push, a rush for a single or two, or who knows, going for something big if the situation demands – and then – bang!
There we go; the crowd goes wild, teammates love it, and all praises come from the commentary box.
The man at the centre of attention punches through the air, bringing his trademark celebration and acknowledging the crowd.
That is how I will picture David Warner, ‘The Minister’, for the rest of my life.
In 2013 or thereabouts, when I was just a teenager and had no idea that David Warner played Test cricket; someone had to tell me.
My immediate reaction was, ‘Meh, are you kidding me? Does this guy play Test cricket? Is he any good?’ I knew he played only the white-ball format.
You must be laughing at how foolish I was – but that is how it went.
Since then, though, I have witnessed countless moments, both joyful and fearsome, the ups and downs, including the Sandpaper Gate scandal and more.
I try not to miss any cricket match Australia plays, especially the Tests. The good part about this is it does not matter if Australia is batting or bowling.
If they bowl, I have Pat Cummins and Co; if they bat, I have David Warner. So, I just sit back, activate the enjoy mode, relax, and watch.
The thing I like most about Warner is the way he plays the game. He has a charismatic ability to change the course of the game in just a few moments or perhaps with a few shots.
I see the fear and terror in the eyes of opponents that he creates, and I enjoy it. Always in the mood to score runs, yet never hesitating to go defensive when needed.
He has been doing this for more than a decade in all three formats. What a star!
I recall his back-to-back Test centuries against us (Bangladesh). In Mirpur, we defeated Australia for the first time in our Test history.
It was on a spin-friendly wicket, particularly challenging in the fourth innings. Warner played an innings full of patience, scoring a century, although it was not enough for them to secure the win.
However, in the very next match in Chattogram, he scored another century, and this time, it proved enough for Australia to secure the victory.
Although I could not be happy about our loss, all I really wanted was Warner’s century and our team’s success.
I want to highlight something very specific: the media is now full of cricket pundits and analysts, and I appreciate that. What I do not understand is how anyone could write off David Warner.
I remember the time before the 2021 T20 World Cup when his form in the IPL was below his standard – even his own franchise treated him harshly.
People started saying, ‘Eh, Warner is gone. He is finished!’ I do not mind that because people talk like that, but what really made me furious was some of the so-called pundits trying to write him off.
I thought, ‘If you have a minimum understanding of cricket, how dare you do that?’
How did Warner respond? He accepted all the criticisms and emerged as the player of the tournament as well as the winner of the T20 World Cup. Yes, that is what David Warner is.
You might talk about his recent test form. Yeah, that might be a matter of discussion. But he really was not as bad as the way it was told.
I remember Shane Warne talking about cricket in a podcast on Sky Sports, and he spoke about how people remember a player after they retire.
He said something like this: ‘People don’t remember the stats; they remember the way you played the game. Did you deliver when the team needed you? And that is the most important thing.’
I really feel that way. Talk about his achievements- 50 over World Cup, World Test Championship, Ashes, T20 World Cup, and a whole lot of personal milestones.
But I know that for sure I will not remember much of the negativity. All I remember is there was a star in the sky, a star that illuminated countless joyous moments that brought sheer delight to me.
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That is why when he walked out for the last time in Test cricket at Sydney Cricket Ground I felt like I lost one of my childhood heroes.
Thank you, Minister.