'He watched me a couple of times and said to me...': David Warner on Virender Sehwag's impact on his career
David Warner was a relatively obscure name when he first played in the IPL under Virender Sehwag's captaincy.
David Warner may be known as one of the best batters of his generation across formats but his debut in Test cricket came as a bit of a surprise to many because of the fact that he hadn't played any domestic first class before that. Warner was the first Australian cricketer in 132 years to make his Test debut before making his domestic first class debut.
While Warner has often hunkered down and played longer innings in recent years, his initial years, and indeed his best innings in Test cricket, were marked by quick scoring with a strike rate that was often close to or above 100. The Australian opener recalled how former India batter Virender Sehwag, himself known for scoring quickly in Test cricket, was among the first to identify Warner's potential in the longest format of the game.
Warner played under Virender Sehwag in the initial years of the Indian Premier League (IPL) for the Delhi Daredevils. He was a relatively obscure name before his exploits for DD in the IPL and Warner himself admitted that he was surprised when Sehwag told him that he could be a good Test player. “When I went to Delhi, Sehwag watched me a couple of times and said to me, ‘you’ll be a better Test cricketer than what you will be a T20 player’," Warner is quoted as saying by Fox Sports.
"I basically looked at him and said, ‘mate, I haven’t even played a first-class game yet’. But he said, ‘all the fielders are around the bat, if the ball is there in your zone you’re still going to hit it. You’re going to have ample opportunity to score runs. You’ve always got to respect the good ball, but you’ve always got to punish the ball you always punish’," he said.
Warner has scored 7817 runs in 96 Test matches with 24 centuries. His tally of centuries his the fourth highest among active cricketers, only behind the 'Big 4' of Kane Williamson, Virat Kohli, Joe Root and Steve Smith. He has also replicated this success in other formats as well, particularly in the IPL and T20Is.