Posted by: nestaquin | January 12, 2009

David Warner Walks a Well Worn Path

Dimunitive David Warner on T20 debut.Returning from Melbourne this afternoon there was much small talk among my fellow passengers about Australia’s newest star, David Warner.

Not surprising considering his blistering innings last night, however, what was somewhat astonishing is the general mythical notion that the nuggety New South Welshman was apparently plucked from obscurity. Even more incredulous is the fantasy emanating from the sub-continent that he was only selected because of concerns that he may turn his back on Australian cricket for a career in the Indian Premier League.

David Warner has followed the successful, decades old, well worn path through the junior ranks and has been on the radar of Australian cricket administrators and selectors since he was a schoolboy.

He represented his grade club Eastern Suburbs in the Green and Poidevin-Gray Shields, his state, the most powerful in the nation, at Under 17 and 19 levels, attended The Centre of Excellence twice and played for his country in youth Test matches and World Cups.

Contrary to popular opinion last night wasn’t even his first dig in full national colours; he wore the emu and kangaroo with distinction two months ago top scoring in the final of the Hong Kong Sixes (35* from 9 balls).

What Warner’s selection and consequent success illustrates is that Australian cricket is in rosy health. A highly decorated youth cricketer unable to secure a full-time place in his state team still has the composure, technique and confidence to play in front of 65,000 at the MCG and excel against World Class players like Steyn, Kallis and Ntini.

I don’t want to frighten our overseas visitors but the truth of the matter is that there are many players in Grade cricket around the country that are of potential international class. All they need is an opportunity. Warner isn’t a freak. In fact, he isn’t even the best player at Waverley Oval.

Warner is a wonderful example of the scores of exceptional young players that are sacrificing their youth for the opportunity to play for their state and country.

Few could be unaware of a young lanky quick from Narromine who travelled to Sydney, lived in a caravan surviving on an indigent diet of chocolate bars and instant noodles while bowling hour upon lonely hour at an old piece of chewing gum strategically placed on the cracked concrete in the battered old nets across the road from the dilapidated caravan park.

McGrath’s sacrifice and story has inspired many a young lad around the continent who believe that they too, if they work hard enough, can become professional cricketers. Of course, McGrath’s story isn’t unique, Sir Donald Bradman trod a similar path from Bowral to Hurstville and beyond as have many others down the years.

Last night only two players from the Test XI played, Ponting and Hussey, yet the team performed like a well oiled machine and what was most encouraging was the style and energy displayed by Ponting’s young team.

Tait’s bowling was predictably inconsistent yet his pace was frightening in his first spell while Hilfenhaus produced a textbook leg-cutter to dismiss Kallis with the new ball and at the death showed why he is so highly regarded by many, bowling a succession of deadly accurate inswinging yorkers that were as hard to score from as they were to keep out.

Australia had their most unsuccessful year in 2008 for almost a quarter century and way back in 1985 Australia were in much worse shape than at present due to the hangover from World Series Cricket and the loss of senior players to rebel tours in apartheid South Africa.

Allan Border and Bob Simpson decided after that horror year that it would be through limited overs cricket where his inexperienced team could garner respect and that plan came to fruition when his team of misfits lifted the 1987 World Cup.

That was the beginning of Australian cricket’s resurrection and although the Test team is struggling to win the key moments of late, the T20 and ODI squads look strong and as keen as a hungry Darren Lehmann in a pie shop.

It will not be long before members of these squads are selected for the BaggyGreen to replace Hayden, Symonds, Lee and perhaps even Stu Clark and M.Hussey. Despite all the negative naysaying and wishful thinking about Australia’s apparent slide down the rankings, Australian supporters have plenty to look forward to in the months to come and there is little doubt that the transition from one almighty generation to the next will be exciting, fruitful and competitive.


  1. about time someone wrote a “reality” piece on the premature write-off of the Australians as a force to reckon with. Yes an era has drawn to a close – that of the golden team of McGrath, Warne, Langer, Gilly, Hayden, et al. But it does not mean the next era is going to be a year or so away. It is only a month or two away – M/s Hilditch & Co willing! Thanks for putting a lot of the “carried away” conjectures in the right perspective!

  2. No worries and thanks, MP. Good times are just around the corner. The present is not bad either. Just watched Tassie roll NSW. Sweet.

    Krezja put in a grand allround performance and Dan Marsh showed again why he is the cleverest captain in Australia. Opening the bowling with Xavier Doherty was a masterstroke.

    Easy win for the Thylacines. I can only assume that NSW missed their most inexperienced player, D.Warner!

    And to prove the point of this post, Rhett Lockyear with only a handful of matches under his belt smashed a half century in 20 odd balls to open Tassie’s innings and set the foundation for a winning score and second place on the table behind the Vics.

    Loving the Big Bash. Cheers.

  3. Yes OK, it’s all fine having talented youngsters, but they need to be brought through instead of wasting time on old fogies who are mates with the captain.

    Well I support India so I don’t mind if Australia waste their young hopefuls until they are cynical and don’t care about the national team.

  4. I would have thought that Warner’s selection in representative sides since the age of 15 is, as you described it Vinny, bringing players through .

    The only cynical players I know of in Australian cricket are Brad Hodge and Ashley Noffke and they’d crawl to Perth and back for a run in the national side.

    And rest assured mate, the old fogies (we like to call them multiple World Cup winners and humble servants of the BaggyGreen) are finished.

    From this point on the oldest bloke in the team other than Bryce McGain will be the skipper. You know him don’t you? The hairy little obnoxious fellow with the most Test wins on record, 38 Test centuries, over 10,000 runs in Tests and ODIs, 3 World Cup wins two as captain …. I could go on forever. There isn’t a more decorated or successful player in international cricket history.

    And you know what Vinny, he doesn’t select the team. He just has to take responsibility for it.

  5. It is about the bowlers,really.Most countries have power hitters these days. I dont think the batting department in most countries is lacking that way. It is world class bowlers that are required to get that champion aura.ofcourse,great batsmen always help. Can we see any McGraths?
    Hilfenhaus is decent -but is a ‘great’ material.Time will tell.

  6. Agree Dsylexic bowlers are important. Without looking too far ahead Australia’s pace attack for the rest of this summer will comprise of Johnson, Siddle, Tait, Bracken and Hilfenhaus with Hopes adding support. There is enough variety and wicket taking ability in that squad to challenge most batsman.

    Johnson and Siddle will presumably get the nod for the Johannesburg Test and the competition for the third seamer will ensure that the man selected will be in good form.

    Obviously, the spinning department is flimsy, however, Bryce McGain is back playing Grade cricket and it is expected that he will get his cap in South Africa. A good thing too. Historically, Australian cricket teams fare poorly without the services of a wrist spinner in their attack.

  7. It looked a tremendous spectacle and after the coldest Saturday in a decade in London, I watched the Warner’s knock from a beautiful looking Melbourne at 83.0am London time. His hitting and maturity was excellent (but we have another Anglo-Saffer called Dawid Malan who can hit like that and he’s even younger!)

    Unfortunately, I didn’t see the Aus bowling, because that is what most interests me (Aus batting is surely in good hands once the selectors pension off the Queensland pair). Johnson will be fine for SA and England, but Siddle is still raw and will have to learn a lot quickly to realise his undoubted potential so quickly. Lee and Clark must have doubts over their ability to manage the workload and Tait, even if he can stay fit, will serve up too many four balls to be part of a four man (or even four and a half man) Test attack. Hilfenhaus has been around a while, but it’s a big ask to play eight successive away Test matches. Hopes and Bracken don’t seem to be on the Test match radar. And no spinner.

    I expect Aus to be able to compete very well in ODI and T20 cricket right through this transitional period, but bowlers will have to be found very quickly who can take Test wickets or, at minimum, exert the control that leads to batsmen giving their wickets up. Are Aus one Mitch Johnson injury away from opening as Ashes defence with an attack of Siddle, Tait, Hilfenhaus, McGain and McDonald? That would be the most inexperienced attack ever to play in England, regardless of what country is playing.

  8. You get a feeling that Warner is one of many players that are going to pop up around the world over the next few years threatening incumbents in the test and ODI arena. It certainly will pressure players in those forms of the game to perform well constantly. Warner for the new opener? India have Sehwag so why not Ausstralia Warner.

  9. nesta, do I detect a sudden change of tone in your posts. When Australia were losing, there was a different nesta – humble, down-to-earth and appreciative of others, no “we-are-the-best” chest thumpings.

    Good for you. I do agree that Australia have been prematurely written off and they might well be dominating mercilessly in a couple of months.
    I also agree that Ricky Ponting is the greatest batsman of all time(well, uh, eh, except the Don – he was Australian after all so no need to have second thoughts). I do agree that he will end up with 14000+ test runs, 45+ test centuries, the highest run aggregate ever(definitely more end-career runs aggregate than Sachin Tendulkar).

    I do so predictably predict that Ricky Ponting will retire as the holder of the record for most centuries in test career, most runs aggregate in test career, and most centuries in test career.
    I strongly, confidently state that when both Ricky Ponting and Sachin Tendulkar are retired from test cricket, Sachin Tendulkar will not have the highest number of centuries in test career. most runs aggregate in test career and most runs aggregate in test career.
    Yes, I do.
    (No, I am not being sarcastic)

  10. I’m not so sure Raj. My guess is that Ponting will retire after the 2011 ODI World Cup. I reckon Sachin will hold both those records. Sachin will probably be still playing then don’t you think?

  11. Perhaps Raj, I do change ever so slightly each day and it has been a while since I’ve written with any regularity.

    Ricky is the most decorated cricketer to play at the highest level and has won more cricket matches in national colours than any man alive or dead. It’s no fluke, however, I’ve always thought Lara the more talented and Tendulkar more technically sound.

    And of the batsman I have seen Sir Vivian Richards stands head and shoulders above them all.

  12. Ah! Yes, Richards.
    I am not sure if RIcky is the greatest after DON( I was just being sarcastic about this one particular point in my last point) but the rest of my post, I do believe will happen.
    Ricky will play another 5 years as batsman for Australia. Assuming 1000 runs per year, it easily crosses 14000 even if you give a lean year.(BTW, 2008 was a lean year and he got 1100 runs in 2008!).
    Assume atleast 3 centuries per year, and a couple of lean years, still it comes to 48-50 test centuries. maybe more.

    Sachin – he hardly can cross 80 these days. in his last 10-15 50+ scores, I think he has 2-3 centuries. Assuming 4 more years for him, which is a stretch, you can hardly expect another 6-7 centuries from him.

    So, yes, Ponting will definitely end up with more centuries. But that India record will definitely show him up. He is just not in the class of BCL and SRT, in my books.
    If he actually finishes with the highest aggregate, centuries etc, most Australians will be saying he is the #2 best batsman of all time, conveniently ignoring Lara and Sachin, who have a greater claim in a neutral’s eyes.

  13. Nesta – has Punter won more matches than SK Warne? Last I looked, he had the most, but it’s a while ago. I guess Punter must be close, so that’s a helluva’n achievement.

  14. Toots – I was including Tests and ODIs. Warne retired from ODIs before the 2003 World Cup which left Ricky plenty of time to catch up. I haven’t checked the stats but I think it’s safe to assume that Ricky has won more matches than anyone else. If someone is inclined to do so please post the results on this thread. It would be most appreciated.

  15. Nesta – I’m sure you’re right. I had forgotten about Warne retiring from ODIs.

  16. The StatsGuru can reveal all.

    Short answer:
    Ponting 310
    Gilchrist 282
    Waugh.S 282
    Jayasuriya 271
    Inzaman 265

    Warne won 216 putting him 15th.

    Symonds has the best ratio (4.11, qual, 100 games). Tendulkar the most losses (229), but being rapidly caught by Ashraful (143).

  17. Thanks very much Russ. Always nice to have your suspicions and memories proved correct.

    Not an Englishman in the top 50 either. Oh dear!

    If your ever in Hobart mate, contact me and I’ll buy you a beer. It would be my pleasure.

  18. I dont know how having so many wins makes him great above Sachin or Lara. What a logic!

    Is it Sachin’ fault that he didnt have Warne or McGrath or Gilchrist for team mates. Nice try!

  19. raj, I do not see anything in Russ’ comments that infer anything of the sort. He kindly provided the top 5, stated where Warne was ranked because Toots thought he was higher and gave us the biggest loser and the statistically most successful as a reference. I think you protest too much!

  20. Russ – Thanks.

  21. Punter has 87 Test victories (ooh er!)

    Warne has 92! (For a bowler, that’s just incredible).

  22. nesta, no, it wasnt about Russ’s comment – more probably yours about Ricky being most decorated etc – if Oz had Sachin instead of Ricky, then Sachin would have had those honours since Warne, Gilly etc were around and Steve and Mark were there to plot the oppositions’ failure. A geographical accident is all about Ponting’s most decorated status.

    Also, if you talk of Gilly, you could say that he had Ricky’s brilliance to complement him – so yes Ricky did contribute to Gillys greatness – thats the thing with great teams – their individual worth is inflated by their colective brilliance!

  23. raj, your insecurities are showing my friend.

    Nowhere have I stated that Ponting is a better bat than Lara or Tendulkar, in fact, I have expressed the opposite.

    The fact is that Ponting has won more games of cricket on the international stage than any other player. That record should speak for itself and garner the respect it deserves.

    The guy is a proven match winner and that neither reflects positively or negatively on anyone else. It’s just a statement of bare fact and he has worked hard to achieve it.

    Toots, it’s quite conceivable that Ponting could win 100 Tests before hanging up the pads. I suspect that record will stand for many years to come.

  24. nesta, i was expecting a sledge and you have obliged. It isnt just Aussie cricketers who are hell-bent upon pyscho-analysing people and giving them labels despite beign nowhere near half-amateur psychologists. Even bloggers presumably do. So, you have now assigned a insecure tag to me? Fine, thanks, I am not going to fall for your sledge – my name is not Harbhajan Singh.

    FYI, I never said that you said that Ponting is better than Sachin. I was merely placing the statement that Ricky won so many matches in context. Yet, you interpreted according to your convenience. Not my problem.
    If you didnt understand before, my point was this
    “Praising Ponting for being part of most test wins is pointless when many of them might have been won with equal contribution from Warne, Gilly and McGrath, and many times, notably in Gilly’sd ebut, without contribution from Ponting”

    Yes, it is a record but merely in the books – no serious cricket lover will give it any significance.

  25. BTW, I was expecting rejoicing in antipodean blogs when ICC announced their top 100 batsmen yesterday, what with Hayden and Hussey findign place in top 10 without Sachin, Lara etc.
    But then today I wake up and see that top 20 bowlers doesnt include Warne.
    So I guess even antipodean bloggers will rebuke this exercise now even though yesterday they might have argued that it is the best, most sound exercise taken ever given yesterday’s results.

  26. raj, are your assumptions based in fact or are they merely prejudice?

    Firstly, you rarely see Australians caring too much about ICC rankings. We are more concerned with winning. That is the purpose of the game. We are confident enough as a nation to not be upset if someone, somewhere creates a mathematical equation that disagrees with what we already know.

    And one more thing. Raj, I’d prefer it if you didn’t comment at 99.94. You regularly attempt to create division, you’re overtly political and seem to have a chip on your shoulder about European culture in general. The truth is your paranoid conspiracies and disrespect for other societies is tedious and troll-like. Please find somewhere else to express yourself.

  27. alright, you can keep your australian trolls alone. I find you not rebuking them. Thats okay. You are entitled to your prejudices.

  28. just one last word, I guess that last paragraph about not respecting other cultures is something you can accuse many australian cricketers of – including Gilly, hayden and Ponting. (not Steve Waugh though). I am sure you will bar them from commenting in your blog, too. Yeah.

  29. setting the history straight on how warner was picked for the IPL. kind of obvious considering how warner is now getting picked for the natl team out of obscurity. as it happens, he has been performing internationally for a while while flying under the radar of even state selectors!

  30. not sure why the comment with the link disappeared again. maybe comments are closed?

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