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David Warner: Last of the Australian stars and the fiery kangaroo

Since 2021, David Warner is averaging 39.31 in T20Is and 42.46 in ODIs. These numbers may insulate him till the ODI World Cup this year, but are they good enough for him to continue beyond that? For all we know, this might as well be Warner's last dance.

Written By: Kartik Mehindru @mehindrukartik New Delhi Published on: February 23, 2023 17:12 IST
David Warner may hang up his boots for good in 2024.
Image Source : GETTY David Warner may hang up his boots for good in 2024.

Brett Lee steaming in and aiming for the stumps. Worth missing, right? Ricky Ponting going on the back foot and depositing the ball into the stands. Well, who can forget that? Adam Gilchrist just coming in and going after any and every attack from ball one. Okay, I'll stop. But wait, how about Shane Warne's indelible magic on the field? Right, this was the last one. 

But the fact is, that any cricket fan would be lying if they said they don't miss all these fiery Kangaroos stepping on the field and going about their business. They were loved, hated, and berated. They, however, were household names. Names you associate Australian cricket with and the names that helped build an incomparable legacy. 

Here Comes David Warner

It was South Africa's tour of Australia in 2008/9 and Australia had just lost a home Test series against the Proteas. Australia losing a Test series at home at that time was kind of a big deal. Well, it always is. The T20I series was next and David Warner introduced himself to the world with a magnificent 89 off 43 balls. Mind you, he never played a first-class game.

It was not long after that he made a career-defining Test 100 in Hobart and became a regular feature in the 3-formats for the Aussies. Since then, more often than not, he has got the job done for his team. However, a lot is being said about Warner these days. He has been out of form for some time now, but the man, as he has always been, is ready to fight. 

The Swan Song

Fast forward to 2023, it has been 14-long years since Warner first appeared for Australia. David Warner now, is ready for his swan song. He has been for quite a while now. He is the last of the Australian stars, and when he finally decides to hang his boots, another player, as it always happens, will replace him. But that is about it. That is the thing about star players. You can replace them on the field, but no one can really mess with their legacy. 

"We're worried about what we can get out of these remaining two Tests [in India], obviously that's a clear focus for us at the moment. We'll address the Ashes planning, but we are committed to picking the best fit and available players for Test series, particularly something as big as the Ashes," this is what selector Tony Dodemaide said when asked if Warner was in the plans for the Ashes. 

India Tv - David Warner

Image Source : GETTYDavid Warner came back from Sandpaper gate, a seemingly changed man

Is it then, the end of the line for Warner in Test cricket? Well, going by the words of the man himself, this is what he says. "I've always said I'm playing to 2024. If the selectors feel that I'm not worthy of my spot, then so be it, and I can push on to the white-ball stuff."

The Numbers

Is Warner really disposable? The southpaw has played 103 Tests for Australia, smashed 8158 runs at an average of 45.57, with the highest score of 335*. It is his form since 2021 though, that has raised serious concerns regarding his place in the team. In 19 games and 32 innings since 2021, Warner is just averaging 29.48. He just has a solitary 100 and four fifties against his name. That is quite a drop in form for a man who was once a force to reckon with in the longest format of the game. 

Not just in Test cricket, Warner's total international numbers too, aren't all that great. In 63 innings across formats since 2021, Warner just has 2095 runs with two hundreds and 14 fifties against his name. He is averaging 34, which is down from his career average of over 40. But is it right for the selectors, management and the fans to write Warner off after what can, in all probability, be a phase, just like what Virat Kohli went through? But here is the harsh reality, Australian cricket has never been that considerate, and Warner knows that. 

"It's easy pickings when you're 36 going on 37. I've seen it before with the ex-players as well. So for me, if I'm taking pressure off the rest of the other guys, and no one's worrying about the rest of the team, I'm happy to do that," Warner said. 

India Tv - David Warner

Image Source : GETTYWarner has not been at his absolute best in international cricket since 2021

Since 2021, Warner is averaging 39.31 in T20Is and 42.46 in ODIs. These numbers may insulate him till the ODI World Cup this year, but are they good enough for him to continue beyond that? For all we know, this might as well be Warner's last dance. He will surely feature in the ODI World Cup this year, but that might just be it and the fiery kangaroo may ride into the sunset after that. 

Whatever happens, Warner has been among the few in world cricket to become a household name. He, for his contributions to Australian cricket, should be allowed to retire on his terms. But hey, the world isn't fair. It wasn't to the 'Gabbar' of Indian cricket, and in all probability, it won't be to Warner. 

One thing that we all must do, though, is to enjoy the swan song. Enjoy, the last dance. 

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