Welcoming back the David Warner of old
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.”