David Warner slump: Worried Australia give stand-in skipper a ‘small break’

Australia cricket team coach Darren Lehmann acknowledged David Warner’s need for a little break between matches of the T20 trans-Tasman tri-series against England and New Zealand, and revealed he would make an appearance at the Allan Border Medal evening in Melbourne Monday night before flying home to Sydney on Tuesday.

cricket Updated: Feb 12, 2018 11:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, Mumbai
David Warner,David Warner form slump,David Warner break
David Warner, who has turned out in all three formats for Australia cricket team this summer, has scored only 85 runs from his last eight innings, which includes three games in the ongoing T20 trans-Tasman tri-series against England and New Zealand, and the five ODI’s against England cricket team before that.(Getty Images)

The hard-hitting David Warner, who has struggled to find runs of late, has been granted a four-day break to unwind before the Australian cricket team travels to New Zealand for its next game of T20 trans-Tasman tri-series.

Australia sit on top of the table, having won all three of their games against New Zealand and England in the ongoing series. But stand-in skipper Warner has failed to go beyond single digits in the triangular T20I series, scoring six against the Kiwis in the first match, four and two against England in the games that followed.

While speaking to reporters, Australia coach Darren Lehmann acknowledged Warner’s need for a little break and revealed that left-handed batsman would make an appearance at the Allan Border Medal evening in Melbourne Monday night before flying home to Sydney on Tuesday.

“It will just give him a couple of days at home really. It’s always a challenge with the schedule as it is, but David is really keen to play as captain,” Lehmann said.

“So we’ll give him a couple of days off and get him to New Zealand the day before the game.”

Warner has taken charge as skipper in the absence of Steve Smith who has been rested after the ODIs against England.

But Warner, who has turned out in all three formats for Australia this summer, has scored only 85 runs from his last eight innings, which includes three games in the ongoing series, and the five ODI’s against England before that.

Lehmann, while emphasising the need for either of the two to lead the side, said Warner’s unrelenting nature should get him back to his best quickly.

“He can only do so much work ... he’s been working so hard that it’s almost like (it would help) to just give him a couple of days away from the game. Ricky Ponting (new assistant coach) has been doing some really good work with him, so we’d expect him to come out of that rut pretty quickly,” Lehmann said.

“He’d obviously like some more runs but he’s been fantastic in the leadership role with the young guys. He’s been training hard ... there’s no dramas at the moment.”

Australian fast bowler Kane Richardson, acknowledging Warner’s leadership abilities, said that his impact on the team doesn’t suggest he needs the break.

“He’s been amazing, you wouldn’t know that he’s in a form slump because his captaincy has been amazing,” Richardson had told reporters after Australia’s latest victory against England.

“He’s been really good for all the young bowlers. It’s a fairly inexperienced bowling attack but the way he’s managed us all and been bouncing ideas off everyone in games and at training has been amazing.

“You could probably look into it that, (because) he hasn’t made any runs so far, he needs a rest, but his attitude and the way he’s carried the group in training and in games doesn’t suggest that at all.”

Australia have booked their spot in the tri-series final and Richardson expects Warner to come good in their next game at Auckland’s Eden Park.

“He’s super competitive and he’s obviously got an opportunity to captain the team which he doesn’t always do, with Steve normally playing every game,” Richardson added.

“We needed some leadership. I don’t think they wanted everyone (from the South Africa Test squad) to sit it out, they wanted someone to steer us through this series. His captaincy has been great.

“He’s doing all the right things and we all know how good he is. Hopefully those short boundaries at Eden Park will play to his strengths.”

First Published: Feb 12, 2018 11:54 IST