Rewinding the Clock: David Warner’s Reflections on Career and Reputation

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In his final outing in the traditional format, the 37-year-old was not his customary, belligerent self but still made a 75-ball 57 at the SCG, his home venue.

Well aware that he has not been “everyone’s cup of tea”, the enigmatic David Warner says he would have toned down a bit if he were to start all over again.

Warner walked into Test sunset on Saturday, ending a glorious career in the most befitting manner, guiding Australia to an eight-wicket victory over Pakistan for a 3-0 series sweep.

In his final outing in the traditional format, the 37-year-old was not his customary, belligerent self but still made a 75-ball 57 at the SCG, his home venue.

“Over the years, I haven’t been everyone’s cup of tea but for me, I’ve played the game as hard as I can and trying to do my best for the team,” Warner told host broadcaster ‘Fox Cricket’. “If I had my time again and I knew that, I probably would show a little bit more patience with myself and I’d bite my tongue a little bit more.”

Warner has been seen as an aggressive, and, at times, slightly nasty, character ready to not just sledge but also engage in verbal volleys with opposition players, especially during the early part of his career. He was the central figure in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in 2018 in South Africa, for which he copped a one-year suspension from first class cricket and a lifetime ban from Australian team leadership. “I think a lot of people don’t get to see or meet or know the person. From when I first started, I was that chirpy little fella that was out there,” Warner said.

“That was my role in the team…to go out there and get under the batter's skin and the opposition’s skin and yeah, it did boost me a little bit because they came at me when I batted.

“But they saw it early days, and I think your first impression, you don’t get a second chance at that and you know, I’ve tried to rebuild that trust and faith.” Warner insisted he was able to change his approach in his later years in top-flight cricket, attributing it to a self-imposed drinking ban.

“I went two years where I was being called the Reverend, I stopped drinking for two and a half years and really enjoyed that time,” he said.

“I think people wanted the old bull back, but for me, it was going out there and playing with pride and passion, and there’s other ways to go about it. I’ve toned it down a hell of a lot and that’s the real person that I am.

“I think the game’s changed a lot as well, you’re playing with a lot of the guys you’re playing against. There’s no need to go out there and be really chirpy and aggressive, there’s other ways to do that.”

Warner retires as Australia’s second most prolific batter in international cricket with 18612 runs across formats after the legendary Ricky Ponting (27368). He scored 8786 runs in Tests at an average of 44.49 with the help of 26 hundreds and 37 fifties.

He also scored 6932 runs from 161 ODIs at an average of 45.30 with the help of 22 hundreds and 33 fifties. He has already announced his retirement from the ODIs but will continue to be available for T20Is and domestic T20 leagues across the globe.

“It’s pretty much a dream come true…has been a great 18 months for the team. On the back of a WTC win, Ashes draw and (ODI) World Cup, to come here and win 3-0 is a great achievement. I’m proud to be with a bunch of great friends here.

Talking about his support system, he said, “(Family) is a massive part of my life. You can’t do what you do without their support.

“I give credit to my parents for a beautiful upbringing, my brother Steve, and then you know came along Candice who sort of got me into line and we now have a beautiful family… I’m not going to carry on because I’ll get too emotional.”

The SCG painted a ‘Thanks Dave’ tribute on the ground with Warner’s Australian Test number of 426.

 “(Would like to be remembered as) exciting, entertaining, and I hope I put a smile on everyone’s face with the way that I played and hopefully the young kids out there can follow in my footsteps.

 “White-ball cricket to Test cricket. It’s the pinnacle of our sport. So keep working hard to play the red-ball game because it’s entertaining as well.”