Wel­com­ing back the David Warner of old

The Citizen (KZN) - - Sport -

Syd­ney – The leap in the air was the same, and there was the same kiss of the hel­met, but the David Warner (be­low) who cel­e­brated his 22nd Test cen­tury yesterday looked a dif­fer­ent player from the man who scored a 21st nearly two years ago.

At the Box­ing Day Test at Mel­bourne Cricket Ground in late 2017, Warner was the uber- con­fi­dent vice-cap­tain of an Aus­tralia side head­ing to­wards a 4-0 Ashes tri­umph and who reached the mile­stone in 130 balls af­ter smash­ing 13 fours and a six.

Warner’s life would be turned up­side down just a few months later in the se­cond Test against South Africa when the ball-tam­per­ing scan­dal saw him sent home in dis­grace with a 12-month ban from top class cricket.

Cast as the vil­lain of the piece by the lo­cal me­dia, Warner held a tear­ful news con­fer­ence at the Syd­ney Cricket Ground be­fore head­ing into the em­brace of his fam­ily to plot his re­turn to the game that had earned him fame and for­tune.

The 33-year-old was back in the Test arena in an­other Ashes se­ries ear­lier this year in England but his form was dis­ap­point­ing for a bats­man who had spent most of his ca­reer in the top five of the world rank­ings – 95 runs from 10 in­nings.

Against Pak­istan at the Gabba in Bris­bane yesterday, the strut­ting opener was re­placed by a de­ter­mined bat­tler who took 180 balls to reach the hun­dred with seven fours and noth­ing close to the flour­ish of a six.

“It’s never been in doubt, the men­tal tough­ness of the guy,” for­mer cap­tain Allan Bor­der said on Fox Sports.

“What he’s been through would have tested most peo­ple.

“It means a lot,” Warner said of his cen­tury. “My fam­ily and I have ob­vi­ously had a tough pe­riod but that sup­port from Aus­tralia here doesn’t go un­no­ticed and I can’t thank ev­ery­one enough.”

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