Heat can get to the players, says David Warner after bad blood in India-Australia series
Australia opener David Warner says some crossed the line during the Test series against India, but players have buried differences ahead of the IPL .ipl 2017 Updated: Apr 08, 2017 01:34 IST
David Warner is a product of the Twenty20 revolution. His international debut was in the format and he took to the Indian Premier League like fish to water. He has excelled as a batsman as well as captain. His full potential was to the fore in 2016 when he captained Sunrisers Hyderabad to the title while scoring 848 runs (60.57 average). Having started IPL 10 with a convincing win against Royal Challengers Bangalore, Warner spoke to HT.
Sunrisers, as holders, will be marked by all as the one to beat. Does it add to the challenge?
It’s always the situation in all sports around the world when you are the defending champions. You are expected to win every game; it’s a tough ask, but it’s about sticking to our basics and doing the best we can, and not worry about results. The way we started was fantastic, a whole-hearted team performance. Last year, predominantly a lot of our games were won by individuals, not really through team efforts. But against Bangalore it was a pure team effort, which was outstanding.
You were like a one-man army in 2016; looks like captaincy helps lift your game?
Captaincy is great fun. You try and lead from the front and are held accountable for the decisions you make. You just go out and play with freedom. I give all my responsibilities to my players, each individual is accountable for himself. You go out and play the way you know – if you get out, you get out, if it comes off, it’s great. At the end of the day, we are only playing a game and it’s fun.
Everyone is giving 100 %, everyone is bound to make mistakes. Sometimes things come off, sometimes they don’t.
Everyone is waiting for you to go head-to-head with Steve Smith…
It’s going to be great, we are the captain and vice-captain of our country. It’s all about going out there and trying to do the best for our teams. Pune is a very good team, they played very well last night (beat Mumbai Indians by seven wickets).
It’s about what sort of role certain players play in their teams. Steve is going to be their anchor, Ben Stokes their impact player and MS Dhoni their finisher. Steve is playing well at the top of the order, we will have to work out how to get him early. It’s all about self-belief, and we have to be on the ball.
Smith has taken the game to a different level. How do you look at his transformation?
Steve’s an exceptional player, he averages 60 plus in Test cricket. When he came into the team, some people criticised his technique etc., but he is the most difficult batsman to dismiss. He knows how to switch gears, he is able to accelerate and decelerate according to the situation, that’s the kind of quality player he is. I admire him, and lots of players look up to him. I just enjoy watching him play and hopefully I can keep continuing to support him on the field by making some runs.
Coming to the India versus Australia series, people felt things would change with IPL as players would be sharing the dressing rooms. Was it unexpected it was played in such a heated atmosphere?
Any series we play, there are always going to be heated arguments, and it gets blown out of proportion in the media. There were a few incidents here and there, but at the end of the day you guys have a job, we have a job. We try and play 100 %; we try and keep everything within the spirit of the game. Sometimes when people are playing in 40 degrees heat, it can test your mental state. The guys made a few mistakes, they shook hands after that and everything is fine.
Will there be a lingering effect in the IPL?
No. Everyone playing in the IPL will be fine. They are great friends from all around the world. The games will be played in the right spirit and we will have laughs together.
You didn’t have the impact you were expected to have in the Test series?
At the end of the day, you can only do your best. I didn’t have big scores, but it was only two or three people who did very well, so it (conditions) wasn’t very easy. I am disappointed, but I gave my 100 %.
You guys must be waiting for the India to come to Australia?
Always! It’s always a great battle between India and Australia. We are looking forward to it. It will be slightly different conditions, it will be exciting. We can’t wait.
Looks like you have mellowed. How did the transformation happen?
It comes through maturity and age, understanding that there is more to life than cricket. It is a game, you got to have fun, and you need to enjoy it. When I was young, I was not married, no kids… I loved the game, I think I showed slightly more aggression because there was nothing to lose… you go out there and give everything, and cross the line here and there. It is not the way you should play, (but) I just thought it got the best out of me.
As time went on, I started realising I can get the best out of myself by doing different things. (Now) on the field and off the field there is more discipline, I have changed a lot of things in my lifestyle and that has helped a lot. I am proud of myself for doing that. And I have my wife to thank for that a lot: she is a very cool, calm and collected lady.
IPL is in its 10th year. How has it changed?
It’s been unbelievable. I am very grateful to be part of it for such a long time and grow with it. It is one of the world’s leading tournaments. It is great for individuals to play in different environments, to play with so many world-class players. (There is) so much to learn from other people, how they play, how they go about things, what their thoughts are. What makes it a lot more challenging is that when you are playing with players from different countries and they try and work you out, they know how you play and think, and when you play for your country you can’t pin them; it makes the game even more challenging for you as a player. It is a great opportunity for any individual to come out here and play. I love it and hopefully I can keep on going till my body holds up.