Australian batsman David Warner started his T20 international career at the MCG on the 11th of January 2009 with a bang, he was an excitement machine. Warner scored 89 runs off just 43 balls on debut for Australia against South Africa. It really brought the game and crowd alive, an unbelievable event to witness.
Following some very successful T20 innings Warner was offered an Indian Premier League contract with the Delhi Daredevils and still plays for the side today. Australian selectors were so impressed they decided to put Warner into the one day international side.
Going from 20 over to 50 over cricket would prove to be a real test for the batting dynamo. Warner struggled during his one day international debut for Australia, scoring only five runs off 17 balls against South Africa in Hobart. After this disappointing start Warner would play in another 38 ODIs for his country with a highest score of 163.
Warner made his test debut against New Zealand on the 1st of December 2011 making just three runs opening the batting in the first innings then not out 12 from 12 balls in the second innings. After successful ODI and test matches in Australia against South Africa, Sri Lanka and West Indies in the 2012/13 season Warner was selected for the tour of India.
This would be a big test for Warner who batted a bit on low slow pitches in the Indian Premier League but felt more comfortable on fast and bouncy Australian pitches. Warner’s weakness to spinners and medium pace had been exposed previously. In the first test against India in Chennai on the 22nd of February 2013, Warner made a good start to his innings but did not go on with the job, getting out LBW for 59 off 133 balls.
In the second innings Warner was out LBW for 23 runs off 61 balls from the bowling of spinner Harbhajan Singh. The next test was in Hyderabad on the 2nd of March in which Warner struggled to put runs on the board again, scoring six and 26 respectively against medium pace. This weakness could be a big advantage for opposing teams, just when they thought nothing could stop the master blaster.
Warner scored a well played 71 runs in the first innings of the third test in Mohali but could not continue it in the second onlytwo runs on the board. The Aussie batsman made a duck and eight runs in the fourth test at Delhi. After a disappointing test series against India Warner would now play in the IPL for the Delhi Daredevils, hoping to change his fortunes.
In his first game of the Indian Premier League season on the 3rd of April Warner made 21 against the Kolkata Knight Riders. The Australian batsman then went on to score 77, 61, a duck, 15, one, seven and 40. Despite these mixed results Warner was named in the 16 man Australian squad for the Ashes series against England in the UK.
Australian selectors have taken a big risk with Warner given his form with the bat in India recently. His weakness facing spin and quality medium pace bowling could be exposed by the England side, particularly with the slow and less bouncy pitches. It will be a real challenge for Warner facing English bowlers Graeme Swann, Monty Panesar, Stuart Broad and James Anderson. He will also come up against part-time bowler Kevin Pietersen who can spin the ball enough to make it tough for many batsmen.
The pressure is going to be on Warner to perform as an opening batsman for Australia and how he copes with spin and swing bowling will not be known until he faces the England bowlers in the first test. Winning the Ashes series is the main goal for the Australian cricket team and Warner is going to play a vital role in making that happen.
Overcoming his struggle against spin and quality medium pace bowling will be the main priority for Warner who is keen to put some test runs on the board for his country and show he is not just a one trick pony. This is going to be one of the biggest tests of Warner’s cricket career. Warner will need to adapt to the different batting conditions and bowlers to get through this rough patch.