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David Warner the most intimidating batsman for 40 years


Brendan McArdle

David Warner celebrates his century on day 3 of the first Test against South Africa.

David Warner celebrates his century on day 3 of the first Test against South Africa. Photo: Getty Images

It would have seemed unthinkable seven months ago when he lost his way before the Ashes series in England, but David Warner is the most intimidating and influential batsman in world cricket by a long way.

Not only that, he is arguably the most intimidating of the last 40 years. It is almost sacrilegious to even contemplate that someone could rival Viv Richards in that regard, or to believe that Warner could be compared to the likes of Gordon Greenidge, Virender Sehwag or Chris Gayle. But the truth is he might have them all covered.

David Warner scored at one day international rates during the Third Test.

David Warner scored at one day international rates during the Third Test. Photo: Peter Heeger

This pocket dynamo from Sydney is a freak. Never before have we seen a cricketer mouth off and then back it with his performances like he has. He makes us cringe at times with his comments and manner, he gets up the noses of the opposition and he terrifies bowlers.

From the moment he took Dale Steyn apart with his incredible display of hitting in that T20 match at the MCG four years ago, we knew we had someone special on our hands. Some traditionalists didn't like what they saw that evening, and for some time after - that wasn't supposed to happen to Steyn, and there was a pecking order in the game for which Warner seemed to have no regard. Besides, he wasn't even playing first-class cricket.

But Warner kept telling us he was good - batting either left or right handed - and he continued to produce remarkable innings in the game's short forms, for NSW and for IPL franchises. Then he began to make the cynics take notice with runs in Sheffield Shield cricket.

Australia's David Warner celebrates his century on the first day of the Third Test.

Australia's David Warner celebrates his century on the first day of the Third Test. Photo: Reuters

The most remarkable thing about Warner's beginning in Test cricket was that it featured a relatively slow and responsible century in Hobart when Australia lost to the Kiwis. But it didn't take him long to return to type, and a sensational century in Perth against India convinced all and sundry that not only did we have an opening batsman who was worthy of his position, but cricket had its most valuable marketing tool since Adam Gilchrist at his peak.

The Warner trail of destruction has continued ever since, despite the controversies he has embroiled himself in. He was confrontational and aggressive against England throughout our summer, he murdered the Proteas in Adelaide last season and he has driven them insane right now.

Cricket Australia's decision to keep him home in October rather than tour India might just have been the masterstroke that was needed to lift his mind and game to its current level.

Playing for NSW did him no harm as he pulverised Victoria's attack with a succession of Ryobi Cup centuries. North Sydney oval might be tiny, but those innings launched Warner's season in one direction while condemning the Bushrangers to oblivion.

Warner went out to bat for six overs before stumps in the second innings at Cape Town on Sunday. Batsmen are supposed to fight for survival in such circumstances, but Morne Morkel, Michael Clarke's tormentor 48 hours earlier, returned to the pavilion humiliated.

On day one, on the back of Warner's aggression, South Africa's plans were in total disarray within an hour. This fellow scares the living daylights out of bowlers like no one before him. Along with Mitchell Johnson he has rejuvenated Australian cricket, and it's been great viewing. For Cricket Australia and his team, he is pure gold.


  • Anyone who believes that Warner is better never saw Viv Richards play. It's not to say that in five years time, he might be better but for the time being he's not close.

    Mick of Carlton
    Date and time
    March 05, 2014, 3:45PM
    • +1

      The Commentator
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 4:07PM
    • I agree. I saw Viv play, and I've seen warner play.

      At this point of Warner's short career, he aint no Viv Richards.

      But comparing him to richards is a bit dopey, as richards didn't open the batting.

      I think Warner should be compared to Matthew Hayden, who averaged just under 51, as an opener in 103 tests.

      Warner averages 46.54, which includes these past 2 awesome innings.

      I love the way warner plays, and for such a little guy, he is amazing. But I also saw hayden destroy bowlers regularly.

      When richards was playing, he was called "the black bradman", and that is how good he was. Hayden still had a better average than viv, and hayden had to face the new ball. Hayden always took the strike aswell.

      Maybe a better comparison is Warner vs gilchrist. Remember that gilchrist averaged around 56, until the last third of his batting career, when he was required to slog out for extra quick runs, often, so his average slipped down to 47. Still higher than warner.

      Gilly is the man, followed by hayden, then warner for now is down the list. hopefully, he just keeps getting better, and becomes a legend, and a day...maybe.

      Kam i Am
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 4:13PM
    • very true Mick, it always amazes me how people compare current sportsmen to past sportsmen.

      at least wait until they are both retired to get an idea what they actually achieved and besides comparing eras that have different training methods, different equipment etc is always going to be difficult.

      i suppose it creates some good arguments and a it's bit of fun.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 4:30PM
    • Yes, the diff is that we get to see Viv play on free TV. But the irony is that we may never see David bat away from home because of greedy broadcasting rights. What a shame!

      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 4:31PM
    • Kam I Am,

      To refer to Viv richards as the black Bradman is insulting to Viv, he was far better than Bradman.

      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 4:35PM
    • I think that the main point of the story has been missed - Warner has shown that he is the most exciting batsman going around today and that he is a fearless and formidable opponent who has had bowling attacks trying to change their strategy when no strategy can work against a guy like Warner just as IVA Richards used to be able to create shots that were ridiculous - think 6 over point. You can't put them against each other - the equipment and players are different and such comparisons are just a journalists play thing.

      the Truth
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 5:13PM
    • +2
      Anyone wants to compare Warner and Viv? Tell Dave to wear the baggy green and face Steyn and Morkel at Newlands, right now you can't even establish a comparison unless this happens.

      Stodgy Critic
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 5:22PM
    • Agreed… I like Warner, but he isn't Viv… Maybe it is because he was a great when I was a kid, but Viv would be in my team ahead of the modern greats, like Lara and Tendulkar.

      The Woononi
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 5:29PM
    • I'm old enough to have watched (live) Richards, Warner, Hayden and Gilchrist.
      As pointed out, Richards wasnt an opener, so he had it a lot easier than Warner. There is no comparison.
      For mine, Warner is looking better than Hayden and possibly even Gilchrist, who I have watched live demolish teams as both an opener and a middle order batsman. I was in the crowd at Egbaston in 2001 and the crowd were too scared to take their eyes off the ball lest Gilchrist hit one in their direction.

      Warner hasnt been around enough to know if he could be a great, but there is no doubt that, despite being a tool, he is a very special batsman and now an integral part of our success as a team.

      Big Noddy
      Date and time
      March 05, 2014, 5:36PM

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