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David Warner: Controlling the emotion, elevating the senses

FEATURED COLUMNIST
Feature
1.46K   //    24 Mar 2018, 01:21 IST

Is he a pocket dynamo both with the bat and the mouth?
Is he a pocket dynamo both with the bat and the mouth?

Swashbuckling. Imposing. Scary.

Synonyms that you might associate with a character in a Marvel or a DC comic. But with someone on a cricket field? Perhaps not.

Well, think again.

David Warner is undoubtedly one of the most feared batsmen in the game today. The three words I used to start this piece symbolize the man.

His performances in the last couple of years for Australia at home have demoralised many an attack and he showed he could be equally effective on slow turners when he worked his way to a hundred to help his side escape the embarrassment of losing to Bangladesh on their home soil.

But runs, wins, man-of-the-match awards; can these be the only factors on which to rate cricketers?

Often, the word we associate with cricketers is 'ambassadors', that they need to play the game in the right way, that their conduct away from the 22-yards is as important as it is on it and why they must mould themselves into characters the youth looks up to.

Warner, in that regard, has been anything but that with his antics in South Africa, the most recent coming in the second day of the third Test in Cape Town, where he was involved in yet another incident, this time with a folk on the boundary rope.

History plagued with errors

Five years ago, around this time, Australian cricket was in a mess. Playing on treacherous pitches against an Indian spinning duo in top form, they were perhaps in as deep trouble as a spacecraft would be if it lost its direction and couldn't be spotted from the space centre back home.

Under such a scenario, sides look for a leader. Instead, in Warner, Australia found further trouble.

Three months after featuring in the side that lost 0-4 to India, the Australian opener was involved in a scuffle outside a Birmingham pub, where he had allegedly punched Joe Root. He was sent home and subsequently put through a rehabilitation program.

In a tour that had already seen the Australians on the backfoot in the Champions Trophy with an Ashes not too far away either, this was the last thing Australia needed.

Half a decade on since that incident, Warner is back in the news. For the wrong reasons again.

In between now and then, he has been involved in incidents, none half as damaging to his career as the one in Birmingham, but those have led to the temperature moving over the tipping point.

The one involving him and the Indian players in 2014 and also his now-infamous 'Speak English' controversy with Rohit Sharma in an ODI in early 2015.

Those scenarios in question now come at a time when the left-hander recently opened up about political ambitions in the future.

However, the incident, first with Quinton de Kock where he was caught by Closed Circuit Television Cameras (CCTV) abusing profusely in the direction of the South African wicket-keeper after he had allegedly made a few crass statements against his family, does not show him in good light.

Video evidence shows an expectedly angry Warner not holding back one bit, even as his teammates tried stopping him.

The left-hander was fined 75% of his match fee, but importantly handed three demerit points, which has now almost put him on the brink.

The incident brought back memories of another one that happened on the corridors of the Trent Bridge dressing room, when in 2014, Ravindra Jadeja was allegedly pushed by James Anderson in a section of the pathway where there were no cameras.

Except that this came from a key batsman of the side and more importantly, the vice-captain. It must be said that Warner's retaliation to de Kock's comments was not one that would have been accepted from the left-hander.

Controlling the emotion, elevating the sense

Warner is not an exception to an Australian breed of cricketers, who have let their mouths run wild at the drop of a hat.

There is passion riding all over his game. Representing the Baggy Green is something he and his teammates take a lot of pride in.

However, the time now has arrived in his career, where he has to respect the value of it.

A lot has been spoken about the Australian batting line-up and deep in Warner's heart, he will know that his presence in the side is like the skin on a human body - to protect the top order from any damage while Steve Smith does his work like the blood vessels inside - ensuring the body runs smoothly at all points.

While the reaction to such incidents drew in sharp comments from former players from both countries, it might have helped to understand what players in nations not involved in the issue thought of it.

We right now live in a world where misconstruction of words has become an epidemic, something that cricket is unable to eradicate.

However, most top-level players chose to not comment on it, adding only to a long list of issues where the public is forced to assume whatever it likes about the thought process within the cricketing fraternity and how it feels about the plaguing issues in the game.

It is also time to appreciate the ICC for not hiding like lambs in front of the Australian slaughter. For the longest of times, the Australians found ways to escape any form of serious action against them for sledging, sweeping it under the carpet as good, 'ol banter.

The incidents in this tour so far certainly don't fall under that bracket and one can be guaranteed that this won't be the last time that an Australian team is involved in episodes such as this.

The question to ask is: Will this go on forever?

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FEATURED COLUMNIST
Massive Rafael Nadal fan. Occasional writer. blog: dravidkeeda.wordpress.com
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