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Out of form David Warner’s Test career hangs in balance; Has he played his last Test?

Out of form David Warner’s Test career hangs in balance; Has he played his last Test? David Warner averages 21.78 from 19 Test innings played against India in India.

Out of form David Warner’s Test career hangs in balance; Has he played his last Test? | Walking Wicket (Images: ©davidwarner31/Twitter)
Warner averages 21.78 against India in India (Images: ©davidwarner31/Twitter)

The moment Mohammed Shami after asking a few tough questions in a fiery spell of bowling found the edge of David Warner’s blade during the first innings of the second Test at the Arun Jaitley Stadium in Delhi, a devastated Warner went back to the dressing room with a frustrated face after getting a start, for a personal score of 15 off 44 deliveries.


Given how Australia were playing in the second Test - fearlessly and always looking to score runs – it was a perfect gameplan that allowed Warner to play his natural game. Warner was making himself ready to go after the bowlers in the second essay of the Delhi Test, but little did he know that the bouncer that hit him on the arm during the first innings would rule him out of not only the remainder of the Test match but also for the rest of the Border Gavaskar Trophy (BGT) 2023.


Warner’s struggle in India continues unabated; has 414 runs in 19 innings

The spin-friendly pitches and subcontinental conditions in India perhaps don’t suit David Warner at all and his Test numbers playing in India point towards the same picture.


In his 19 Test innings in India, Warner has scored just 414 runs at an average of just 21.78 and strike rate of just 52.67 including three half centuries and best score of 71. During the four-match Test series in 2016-17 in India, Warner collected just 193 runs at an average of 24.12 and strike rate of 62.45 including just one fifty besides his name.


What’s more terrifying is that the same batter who scores so aggressively on those bouncy and fast pitches of Australia seems to be clueless against the spin attack of India. And perhaps to an extent, it’s not about only the spin, even the pacers with the low bounce make his life difficult in the middle.


Amidst all the talks around the spin heavy 22-yards of the Vidarbha Cricket Association (VCA) Stadium in Nagpur, Warner saw his stumps cartwheeling on the 13th ball of the first Test; a length delivery from Shami nipped back to find the inside edge of his bat before taking the off-stump out for quite a sight. In the second innings, he could have been dismissed after being set-up beautifully by Ravichandran Ashwin, but Virat Kohli’s dropped catch at the first slip stretched his life in the middle for a while. Just after a few overs, Ashwin trapped him before the stumps with a slider on 10. This time Warner left the series with just 26 runs in three innings at an average of 8.66. The way it’s going for him in the last few months, he has perhaps played his last Test in India.



Warner’s tough times in spin-friendly and swinging conditions

It’s not only India where Warner struggles, he also struggles against the Dukes ball in England and West Indies; bounce doesn’t really make his life hard as he has a good record in both South Africa and Australia.


Let’s take a look at how Warner has performed in all the countries in his 103-match career so far. Till now, he has scored 5139 runs in 55 home Tests at an average of 58.40 and strike rate of 73.27 including 19 centuries and seven fifties. In 48 away Tests, he has smashed 3019 Test runs in 48 games at an average of 33.18 and strike rate of 67.58 including 20 half centuries and six hundreds.

Played In

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

S/R

50s/100s

HS

Australia

55

95

5139

58.40

73.27

14/19

335*

Bangladesh

02

04

251

62.75

63.22

00/02

123

England

13

25

651

26.04

67.04

07/00

85

India

10

19

414

21.79

52.67

03/00

71

New Zealand

02

03

39

13.00

62.90

00/00

22

Pakistan

03

05

169

33.80

59.93

02/00

68

South Africa

06

12

760

63.33

80.68

04/03

145

Sri Lanka

05

10

227

25.22

84.39

01/00

68

UAE

02

04

239

59.75

78.62

01/01

133

West Indies

05

10

269

26.90

58.86

02/00

62

Total

103

187

8158

45.58

71.04

34/25

335*

Except the flat roads in Pakistan, where Warner enjoyed batting scoring 169 runs in three games, he has struggled against the quality spin attack in Sri Lanka with just 227 runs in five games under his belt at an average of 25.22 with no centuries to his name. Though he does have a good record in Bangladesh with couple of centuries in two games.


But his struggles resurface when he faces the Dukes ball in swinging conditions in England. Warner who suffered hugely during the Ashes 2019 in England scoring just 95 runs in 10 innings at an average of 9.50 and strike rate of 51.63 with a lone fifty and a best score of 61, has so far notched up just 651 runs in 25 innings in England at an average of 26.04 and strike rate of 67.04, including seven half-centuries with a best score of 85.


It's quite surprising to see that Warner in his 103-match career has played just two Tests in New Zealand scoring just 39 runs in three innings. Even in the Caribbean, he has just 269 runs in 10 innings with just couple of fifties.


There is also a huge decline in Warner’s form in the recent few years.

Year

Mat

Inns

Runs

Ave

S/R

50s/100s

HS

2018

04

07

273

39

65

03/00

63

2019

09

16

725

48.33

62.29

01/02

335*

2020

01

02

156

156

65.27

00/01

111*

2021

05

08

307

38.38

56.96

02/01

95

2022

11

20

571

30.05

63.37

02/01

200

2023

03

04

36

9

35.64

00/00

15

Total

33

57

2068

36.08

58.08

08/05

335*

These numbers suggest that Warner is perhaps going through tough times with bat in hand and he also cited how fatigued he was before coming to India.


“It’s been challenging; I’m quite tired and exhausted. A few guys have gone to the UAE league but aren’t attending the Cricket Australia awards. From my perspective, it would have been nice to have had another night at home. But it’s what it is,” Warner told Cricbuzz.


“Hopefully, next year I can come out and be fresher than I am now. It will be a long lead-in to our summer (that includes the ODI World Cup in India). From a personal point of view, I’m going to have to try and work out how to stay nice and fresh,” he added.



Will Warner return to the Test side after his recovery?

The question remains whether Australia’s team management even after these poor returns by Warner will keep on persisting with him. He is expected to come to India for the three-match ODI series in March before staying there for the upcoming Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023. At the end of it, Australia will visit England for Ashes 2023 which means Warner won’t have much time to prove his worth in red-ball cricket.


There have been a few guys who have scored runs in domestic red-ball cricket at the opening spot but most of them are in their early 30s: Cameron Bancroft is the leading run-scorer in Sheffield Shield 2022-23 with 767 runs in just eight games at an average of 63.92, while 34-year-old Daniel Hughes from New South Wales (NSW) has notched up 515 runs in seven games at an average of 39.62.


But given how the Australia captain Pat Cummins has backed his opener after the second Test in Delhi against India, it seems like they aren’t going to break relations with the left-handed opener in the near future.


“I am sure Davey will be there,” Cummins revealed that Warner was batting well in the lead up to the India series. “You saw this year at the Boxing Day Test when he puts pressure back on the opposition, he’s pretty hard to bowl to.”


There should be no doubt on David Warner’s talent and legacy in red-ball cricket over the years but the hard-earned credit in his bank is rapidly drying up and it will be really interesting to see what Warner himself and the national selectors decide about his future when they announce the squad for Ashes 2023 to played in England.


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