Saturday, January 21, 2012

The Brave Boy Dave


David Warner, the latest swash buckling Test opener from Australia has already made his statement of long career with a stunning 180 at WACA last week. Warner was known as a T20 specialist. He made his T20 debut against South Africa in 2009 where he slammed an 89 of 43 balls. Warner’s heroics helped Australia to win the match but, what made Warner so special was the way he attacked South African bowlers. Makhaya Ntini, South African fast bowler ran in and bowled a short of a length delivery and the short man jumped back and tucked it away for single. First run for the little man! It could have released a lot of pressure from the debutant. Massive moment for David Warner but, the Australian opener in Dave still has a lot of work to do.

Smashing the bowl all over the park which he used to do in first class cricket won’t be easy at this level since he has to deal with Steyn and co which could name as one of the most dangerous bowling attack in the world. Dale Steyn, South Africa’s number one bowler in to the attack. Ricky Ponting the captain faces the first bowl, gets a single and now it’s the debutant against the best fast bowler on the field. Steyn says ‘hello’ with the first delivery to the debutant at 150kmh’ and the short man hardly put an effort but, the bowl cross the boundary line for six over fine leg. Still there are some doubts of nervousness of the batsman. Fast bowler, who was dispatched for six, comes up with a classical fast bowler comeback, a fast short pitched delivery! Debutant makes sure that the word ‘nervousness’ is history with pulling the bowl over deep mid-wicket for another six and gets to his maiden half-century in 19 balls. What impressed the most was the mindset of the opener who looked pretty positive throughout his innings.

Strong performances in T20 cricket brought Warner to the next level. ODIs! After the initial success in the 50 over format Dave lost his place to Shane Watson who was consistent at the top of the order. However, the tag of ‘T20 specialist’ was not removed from Warner as he started to play T20 premier leagues all over the world. Warner was sold to Delhi Daredevils (DD) to play IPL cricket. Young man started to share the same dressing room with some of his type world’s greats, while he was taking part in IPL he got some advices from one of his DD team mates, yes it is the DD captain Virender Sehwag who asked David Warner to focus on the longer format. Sehwag being one of the most successful openers in Test cricket with his unique style of batting which destroyed number of bowling attacks all over the world has given Warner some tips about the role of an opener but, Sehwag might have cursed himself for that while he was standing on the field watching David Warner bat in that innings where he scored 180 of 159 balls which handed India an innings defeat.

Warner, in his brief Test career scored two hundreds, One against India which won the match for Australia and one against New Zealand which almost won the match for Australia. What makes these two innings special is the pitch conditions and his strong mindset. When Australia were chasing 241 to win a match on a Hobart track where New Zealand and Australia bundled out for 150 and 136 in the first innings respectively. David Warner fought hard but, none of his team mates managed stay there with him. He remained unbeaten at 123 and Australia fell short by seven runs.
His second hundred at WACA (Perth) which came on a track where a team which included Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman, Virender Sehwag, twice bundled out for 161 and 171 respectively in two innings, shows the quality of the batsman.

The aggression that he brings in to the game reminds a lot of Mathew Hayden, former Australian opener but, the different between two left handers is that Hayden was an aggressive Test opener and David Warner is a Test opener who doesn’t mind playing a bit of T20 cricket in Test matches. Having seen his progress so far, one can only say that this man has a lot to offer for Australia in all three formats.

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