David Warner has had questions hanging over him ever since he came back into the Australian squad and to the World Cup. A long break away from the national team will always do that.
Even at the World Cup, when he notched up solid performances, albeit by his standards slow, doubts were raised if he had been found wanting. But against Pakistan in Taunton, flashes of the old, dominating Warner resurfaced. He went on to bring up a fine century, and let the world know he was back – with his trademark leap to celebrate his hundred.
“To come out here play the way I know I can play was awesome. I was elated,” Warner said on Wednesday (June 12). “That’s one thing probably I missed, against India I hit a lot of fielders. You, as a player, you feel like you got in a rhythm. And that’s what happened. But today was one of those wickets, if you’re still looking to score and your defence is tight, you’ll create those opportunities for yourself.”
Warner is currently second in the World Cup run-getter’s list with 255 runs at an average of 85. But it’s his strike-rate that has turned into a moot point. India and Afghanistan both managed to keep Warner quiet with tight lines, even if he managed to make fifties against them. He said that it helped that the Pakistan bowlers erred in their lengths a few times, allowing him to cash in.
“I thought that the wicket was going to be sort of like a Test match battle. And, yes, they were a tad too short or a tad too full. And it allowed us to sort of free our arms a little bit. And we knew that they had to get 10 overs out of Malik and Hafeez. So it was a bit of a target point there as well. So for us we went out there to play our natural game, strong defence and hit through the line of the ball. And we felt the wicket was definitely two-paced. There was a bit of a patch in the middle which was a tennis bally.
“(The hundred) obviously was a long time coming. Against Afghanistan I felt like I had no rhythm. The next game (West Indies), obviously, got one that sort of kicked off a wicket, but I was a bit lazy. And still last game they bowled really straight to me.”
Warner has had a tumultuous last year of so, after he was found guilty in the sandpaper gate scandal that rocked Australian cricket. Having had to serve a ban, the left-hander has made a telling comeback to the team now. He said a lot of the credit goes to his wife and kids for keeping him strong.
“The thing that kept me going was my wife and my kids. Got great support at home, my family. And my wife is just, she’s just my rock. She’s unbelievable. She’s determined, disciplined, selfless. And I hold a lot of credit to her. She’s a strong woman. And she got me out of bed a lot in those 12 weeks, and got me back running and training hard as I could, and prepared for sort of the other formats of the game I was playing and I did play. So it was just maintain my level of fitness and just hard work. And she really nailed that into me.”
Having served his ban, Warner said he had work extra hard to ensure he hit the ground running for the Australian team.
“For myself it was obviously getting back to the normal routine of training, high intensity. Our fitness levels have to be spot on when you’re in this Australian cricket team. And I felt like I did a lot of hard work in my time off to get right. And then coming back, that soreness that you normally get, it put a smile on my face. I had a little bit of a strain on my glute. I think that was just purely based on getting back into it and sort of getting back in the mojo of things.”