Monthly Archives: October 2021

Yesterday’s Hero

David Warner will turn 35 on 27 October, 2021. Will the selectors really pick him to open the batting in the Ashes?

Warner is the Bruce Willis of Australia’s Test team: an aged film star phoning in his performances without providing much evidence to suggest he is still up to the job. He abdicated his position as Australia’s Test opener long ago. Warner has played a grand total of THREE red-ball games since January 2020, and played unconvincingly even then. He played in only the final two Tests of the four-Test series against India in January 2021, scoring 67 runs across four innings at an average of 16.75. He then played a single Sheffield Shield match in March 2021 season, scoring 24 and 69 against South Australia on the billiard table otherwise known as the Adelaide Oval.

Warner has played 86 Test matches and made 7,311 runs at an average of 48.09, with 24 Test centuries. It’s a good record, but look closer. In his most recent 20 Tests, he has made only 533 runs at an average of 16.15. He has reached three figures only four times in that period, twice against a weak Pakistan side in Australia, and once against New Zealand (also in Australia).

There are many cricketers who choose to prioritise the white-ball game in order to prolong their careers, and I don’t blame them for it. Many of them (e.g. Shane Watson, George Bailey, Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, and many more) are much more suited to the white-ball game and should never be (or should have been) considered for Test cricket. Good luck to them. They must make hay while their bodies hold up. But it’s when such players masquerade as Test cricketers – and when the selectors indulge them – that Australia loses Test matches. Warner has straddled the two formats with more success than most, but at 35 years of age his time as Australia’s Test opener is surely up. And, no, he doesn’t ‘deserve’ a final swansong just because he has served the team well for a long time. As the saying goes (and I’m paraphrasing), this the Ashes, not tiddlywinks.

If the Australian selectors pick Warner for the Ashes, they will be trotting out an aged warhorse who is a very long way past his prime and who has played virtually no first-class cricket for nearly two years. England, for their part, are likely to ask Stuart Broad to bowl at him around the wicket from the first over. Australia’s wickets may not seam as much as England’s, but I think I would bet on Broad.