David Warner's roller-coaster journey from humiliation to glory
David Warner's magnificent triple century at the Adelaide Oval left Pakistan gasping for breath. Along with some belligerent strokeplay, it was Warner's tremendous physical fitness and resolute concentration that encapsulated the whirlwind knock.
Cracking drives and majestic pulls highlighted his utter dominance over the hapless visitors. The marathon effort oozed all the flamboyance that is typically associated with the southpaw.
However, a few months ago, the scenario was totally different. Images of a crestfallen Warner trudging back to the pavilion dismissed cheaply by jagging in-swingers had become alarmingly frequent. The disastrous Ashes series intensified the debate over his ability to bounce back from the horrors of Sandpaper-gate.
The runs had dried up, and Warner looked like a pale shadow of his former self. With his confidence shattered, even his batting technique seemed to have fallen into disarray.
Just to refresh your memory, Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft were slapped with lengthy bans for altering the condition of the ball with sandpaper in the Newlands Test against South Africa in March 2018.
Emotional press conferences followed. Confronting a sea of journalists, Warner pronounced his actions as inexcusable and deeply regrettable. Sincerely apologizing for breaching the public trust, he accepted full responsibility for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal which had rocked the cricketing fraternity.
But Warner gained perspective over time. Instead of dwelling on negative thoughts, he focused on staging a blazing resurgence.
The swashbuckling batsman went through grueling cardio sessions to increase his agility, watchfully supervised by mentor Roger Fabri. Exceptional performances for New South Wales in the domestic arena helped boost Warner's confidence.
Having served the one-year punishment, the explosive opener dominated the Indian Premier League with some brilliant performances, including a marvelous unbeaten century. Stamping his authority on the bowlers, Warner concluded the premier tournament as the leading run-getter with 692 runs from a dozen matches at an incredible average of nearly 70.
Normal services had resumed. The trademark Warner was back in business.
Returning to national colors, Warner showcased his exuberance in the World Cup 2019 by producing three hundreds and as many fifties. But despite that tremendous comeback to the international scene, there was one last hurdle to conquer - the arduous red-ball format.
While Smith pulverized the English bowlers in the Ashes, churning out a string of big centuries, Warner endured a dreadful run. Hostile quick Stuard Broad had Warner on toast, dismissing him seven times in 10 innings for pedestrian scores.
Concerns grew and the critics began to close in, but Warner remained unfazed and firmly believed in trusting his process to achieve the desired results.
“Never, never (thought of quitting Test after Ashes). At the end of the day, you’re going to have people who are going to doubt you. Through that whole campaign (Ashes), I always said I wasn’t out of form, I was out of runs,” an optimistic Warner reflected.
“This is not something from hindsight. If I had my time again, I wouldn’t have changed my guard, not listened to some external noises, backed myself more. I am capable of that. I have had to regroup coming back from England. I probably faced 3.500 or 4,000 balls at the nets leading into Brisbane. Obviously here as well.”
The onset of summer provided the glimmer of hope that Warner desperately yearned for. The lefty dasher found some rhythm in the T20I series against Sri Lanka, plundering his maiden ton in the format. Much to Pakistan's chagrin, Warner built on his newfound form and capitalized in emphatic fashion.
Warner's cricketing graph has been through splendid highs and devastating lows. What's remarkable though is his unshakable will and persistence to grind under difficult circumstances.
With each new outing the dynamic Australian is gradually finding his redemption, erasing the mistakes of Cape Town with panache.