Warner hopeful of being named the next vice-captain
If not Warner, then who?
David Warner believes he has achieved the required maturity – both on and off field – to take up the mantle of vice-captain. What with rumours that the whole Aussie side is going to rehauled, this may well prove to be true.
As little as a few months ago, Warner would not even be in the list of people considered. But what with Michael Clarke’s hurried exit and the state of the Aussie team on top of the Ashes loss, anything can happen. He seems fairly confident of getting the job.
“I had my first captain experience in the IPL this year,” Warner said today about his tenure leading Sunrisers Hyderabad to the cusp of the IPL semi-finals. “I felt like I had the team going in the right direction and I got some great feedback from the coaching staff and guys like (former India Test batsman) VVS Laxman and Murali (Sri Lanka’s record-breaking spin bowler Muthiah Muralidaran) as well, so it was pleasing to hear that.
“And being captained by (New South Wales teammate) Moises Henriques as well – he came up to me saying I did a great job, which is always a great thing to hear. Definitely if the opportunity (to be vice-captain) arises I’d love to take that, but obviously at the end of the day I’ve got to do my job for the team, which is to score runs.”
But James Sutherland, Cricket Australia Chief Executive, doesn’t seem so eager about picking the favourite. "I don't think that (appointment) is necessarily as obvious”, he said, according to cricket.com.au.
Of course, Warner hasn’t helped himself along the way. Even before the Rohit Sharma controversy, where during an argument he asked Sharma to ‘speak English’, Warner entered muddy waters when he got into an argument with Joe Root. Sutherland criticised his actions. Sutherland called him out publicly when he fronted two umpires during India’s visit last summer.
Game wise, Warner has had a good run as a Test opener, but he too has struggled against England bowlers just like his fellow top-order batsmen.
Warner’s way seems clearer when you regard the plight of the other players. Peter Nevill has barely set foot in Test cricket. Statistically, bowlers hardly get to this coveted position because it is so close to captaincy. Shane Warne is dealing with his own problems. Shaun Marsh and Adam Voges are under scrutiny. Amongst all this, Warner seems a safe pick.
The real question isn’t whether Warner is ready for this responsibility, the real question is does CA believe he is? Of course, part of this consideration is synergy within the team and an experience of all game forms. Warner comes out smelling good in this matter.
“I’ve played under ‘Smudge’ (Smith),” said Warner. “We’ve played a lot of cricket together. He’s got great ideas and I feel that I definitely can work with him.
“We’re always talking out there (on the field) amongst ourselves anyway; obviously with him (Smith) being the vice-captain (now) and throwing ideas to the skipper, and as a unit we’re always talking. And even when I’m at mid-off I’m always asking the bowlers what they’re thinking. But at the end of the day it’s up to the board and selectors to move forward with that.”
Warner has certainly turned things around, or has at least tried to. He is not the same person who had (what seems inevitable at the time) a sanction coming his way just before the World Cup. His on-field performance has been brilliant too – he brought home nine centuries in fourteen Tests until January.
“Go back two years (to the 2013 Ashes tour) and my life probably wasn’t in the right direction,” said Warner, frankly. “I was playing cricket for Australia, it’s a boyhood dream but I needed to be put back in my place a little bit. And since then I think I’ve turned a lot around.
“I’ve got a lot of hundreds and I’m playing a good brand of cricket. There’s been a little bit of a hiccup with the Rohit Sharma stuff, but at the end of the day that was on the field and I’ve learned to bite my tongue a little bit now. I’ve got to keep moving forward and my job is to score runs.
“If I can keep doing that, the rest will take care of itself.”