Stuart Broad's bunny, David Warner, is still in shock, trying to figure out the reason behind the veteran pacer's omission from the England playing XI for the opener in Southampton earlier this week against West Indies. And while he jokingly expected the same to happen when Australia faces England in the next Ashes series Down Under, Warner did hail his nemesis moments ahead of his 500th Test wicket.
Earlier last summer, Broad had harassed Warner at the crease, dismissing him a record seven times in the series, that took his tally to 12 against the batsman, the most he has ever dismissed one. Warner's batting was criticised and he was forced to introspect before returning with great numbers during Australia's home season in December-January.
Warner expressed his shock at Broad's exclusion from the England opener against the Windies as the management looked at Mark Wood and Jofra Archer to feature alongside James Anderson. But the lanky pacer returned with great numbers in the second and third Test that brought England on the verge of recaliming the Wisden Trophy.
"I think they should drop him again, I don't know why they dropped him for that first game," Warner laughed. "It'd be nice if I was to play over there again and he wasn't playing. I saw he got a 50 and he's taking some batting tips off Shane Warne, which is weird, but the way he bowls, the way he's been bowling the last 18 months has been outstanding. I don't know what was the reasoning behind leaving him out of that first Test, but obviously he's come back and taken a few wickets.
"Personally, I think he's a world-class bowler and the last 18 months he's really worked hard on pitching the ball up. When I look back on the stats it is probably the first time in his career, he's actually pitched the ball up in that sort of five to six metres area the bowlers talk about quite a lot. He's got a hell of a record against left handers as well, and I think the capability of him bringing the ball back off the wicket into the left handers has been another string to his bow.
"Bowlers do tend to talk about not meaning to do that off the seam, but if you keep producing the right seam consistently enough, you're going to get that sideways movement both ways and he's been able to get that, and it's not by fluke that he's had success the past 18 months, he's worked really hard to get to where he is and credit to him. Hopefully, yeah, I do get another crack against him."
Broad's numbers against Warner last summer was a testament of his improved form, having previosly struggled against the line and length pertaining to left-handed batsmen. Joning the new bandwagon of atccking tactic of pacers in going round the wicket against southpaws. Broad has found immense success while maintaining his new strategy of bowling 41cms fuller.
"I think when you've got two quality bowlers who've bowled in partnerships for a long, long time, in the partnership they bowl they don't leak runs, and that's the most important thing when we bat in partnerships, we try to get off strike, rotate strike, get bowlers off their lines and lengths," Warner said. "These guys have the ability to keep those runs restricted, and they bowl a length where in England if you go to drive that length, you're probably going to nick, but also the length means they're still hitting the stumps, so you can't really leave it.
"In English conditions they just know how to get wickets and how to not leak runs. I know as well, James Anderson can not take a wicket, but still go for less than two an over. That just shows his experience as well. They're both not express pace, and to take [nearly 1100] wickets between them as a pair when playing together is exceptional. You just can't go after them, they don't take their foot off the pedal and when you're up against them, you've got to think of ways to rotate strike. Otherwise if you give them too many overs at you, they're going to get you out."