The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

WARNER EARN­ING A THIRST Dave look­ing for­ward to first drop

- BEN HORNE CRICKET

DAVID Warner has brought up an un­ex­pected cen­tury on the Ashes tour, one that has laid the plat­form for his longterm fu­ture.

One hun­dred days with­out a beer.

The self-im­posed drink­ing ban is de­signed to give Aus­tralia’s new vice-cap­tain the best men­tal and phys­i­cal chance of dom­i­nat­ing all three forms of in­ter­na­tional cricket well into the next decade.

It is one of the rea­sons why Warner has man­aged to con­vince even his one-time critic, Cricket Aus­tralia chief ex­ec­u­tive James Suther­land, that his life turn­around is the real deal.

Warner has not touched al­co­hol since the end of the In­dian Premier League in May.

While he has no in­ten­tion of be­com­ing a tee­to­taller, he feels at this point in his ca­reer rigid dis­ci­pline is pay­ing off.

Not even the emo­tion of send­ing open­ing part­ner Chris Rogers and cap­tain Michael Clarke out at The Oval could con­vince him to crack one open.

De­spite hav­ing been on the road ef­fec­tively since Oc­to­ber, Warner, 28, is cred­it­ing the tough­est ton of his ca­reer for his re­newed de­ter­mi­na­tion.

“I did think I had it in me to do but it’s about the dis­ci­pline,” he said.

“I said be­fore I went to the West Indies (in June) that I wanted to give my­self the best op­por­tu­nity to get through the Windies, the Ashes and a home se­ries.

“You can celebrate and drink but at the mo­ment I don’t feel we’ve had any­thing to celebrate.

“You’ve got to en­joy your wins be­cause they’re very rare to come by and had we won the se­ries, I prob­a­bly would have had a drink.

“(But) for the longevity of my ca­reer I’ve got to try to put my­self and the team first.”

Suther­land la­belled Warner’s night­club bust-up with Eng­land star Joe Root two years ago “de­spi­ca­ble”.

In Jan­uary, Suther­land or­dered the opener to “stop look­ing for trou­ble” when he was caught telling In­dian bats­man Ro­hit Sharma to “speak English” dur­ing a fiery on-field stoush at the MCG.

Warner re­vealed the high praise de­liv­ered to him by Suther­land on the phone shortly af­ter his ap­point­ment to the vice-cap­taincy.

“It was more about the last 12-18 months how I’ve turned ev­ery­thing around and ad­dressed my game and the pro­fes­sion­al­ism I’ve shown on and off the field,” he said.

“He just said that it’s a re­ward for all the stuff I’ve been do­ing. I think the hard work and sac­ri­fices I’ve made to be the per­son I am to­day, all that has been re­warded now.

“He strongly said to me that I’ve got his full sup­port and he’s back­ing me 100 per cent to do the right job, so I thanked him and ob­vi­ously the board for giv­ing me that op­por­tu­nity.”

Warner feels like he was mis­un­der­stood in the Sharma con­tro­versy but rather than try­ing to shift blame said the storm was his fault.

With good friend Peter Sid­dle and wife Candice Fal­zon as his in­spi­ra­tions, Warner has trained him­self to avoid slip­ping into temp­ta­tion.

“Look at some­one like Peter Sid­dle, he hasn’t had a drink in three years,” he said.

“I look at my wife … the 15 years she ded­i­cated to (be­ing an ironwo­man) and she prob­a­bly would have drank three or four times in her ca­reer.

“(Drink­ing) is part of our cul­ture – and I’m not say­ing ‘I gave up drink­ing be­cause I couldn’t con­trol my­self’ or any­thing like that. It’s just those lit­tle dis­ci­pline things that can keep you from play­ing one year to five years.”

 ??  ?? LOCKED IN: David Warner is now Test vice-cap­tain.
LOCKED IN: David Warner is now Test vice-cap­tain.

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