Australian cricket’s ‘ bad boy’ comes of age
Bad boy Warner’s coming of age rewarded with leadership
DAVID Warner is back in Birmingham, the scene of his infamous incident with Joe Root.
And the proof of just how far the explosive opener has come over the past two years was there for all to see on the final day of Australia’s tour match against Derbyshire.
Warner is next in line to be vice- captain of his country.
With Michael Clarke off the field for periods of time and Steve Smith not playing, Warner was given the keys to the national team.
It was just a cameo, but it was the strongest possible indication that when the time comes for Smith to take over the reins, “the attack dog” Warner will be his deputy.
Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland labelled the glancing blow Warner landed on Root’s fake beard- clad chin in the Birmingham Walkabout on the eve of the last Ashes series a “despicable act’’.
That Warner’s cards were marked by the boss never to hold an official leadership position in the Australian cricket team seemed assured.
Even as recently as this last summer, Sutherland strongly condemned Warner’s “speak English” comment to Indian Rohit Sharma, ordering the explosive batsman to “stop looking for trouble’’.
When Clarke was injured in Adelaide and Australia needed a new captain for the rest of the Test series against India, the suggestion Warner could be a potential candidate to deputise was never taken seriously.
It was Smith all the way, even though he was younger and vastly less experienced than his NSW teammate.
But Warner at least deserved to be in the conversation, and his elevation in Derby is evidence of how enormously he’s matured over the past two years.
In 2013 Warner was also embroiled in a Twitter tirade with two Australian journalists, these days he’s happy to simply laugh off an inflammatory headline.
Now a committed family man, Warner has got his priorities right and life is in perspect tive. If he catches sight of the Walkabout this time it will be walking past with the sun still up and a pram out in front.
On the field, Warner hasn’t l lost his cheeky and sometimes abrasive edge, but he’s smarter about how he conducts himself. The 28- year- old’s comingo of- age has also arrived with tremendous timing.
Senior players Shane Watson and Brad Haddin look to have played their last Tests, and although Clarke is still going strong, the fact the classy skipper has already retired from one- day cricket suggests he has more captaincy years behind him than in front.
The face of the team is changing, and Warner has turned his career around to the point where if a leadership opportunity comes, he’s there to take it.
The sight of Warner directing traffic from first slip might have seemed surreal as his teammates were happy to joke at his expense. “He certainly enjoyed it – he put a few of us in our place, which is always nice,” said Mitchell Marsh.
Chris Rogers. STRAIGHT BAT: David Warner has tempered his volatile behaviour in recent times.
How the English press covered Warner’s fight in 2013.