The Sunday Mail (Queensland)
WARNER EARNING A THIRST Dave looking forward to first drop
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.”