David Warner – World Class Opener Or Fraud?
Today new writer Grant Scott articulates something that a lot of England supporters think but rarely say. You tell ’em, Grant…
As he unleashed his trademark leap into the air before injuring himself and having to retire hurt (he’d come back out the next day), David Warner looked a jubilant but relieved man. He had every right to be too, he had just reached a double hundred in what was his first Test century in nearly three years. Over the course of those three, long, lean years, Warner averaged just 26.07 across 15 Test Matches.
During this face-saving double ton, Warner managed to pass Mark Waugh into eighth place on Australia’s most Test runs list. That 25th Test ton also puts him eighth in most Test hundreds scored for Australia, too. His Test record now stands at 8132 runs at 46.20, with 25 hundreds across 101 Tests, and at a strike rate of 71.37. Impressive… or so you’d think. But it’s a somewhat different story when you delve deeper into Warner’s record.
Now, I should point out that we are only looking at Warner’s Test record. His statistics in the two white ball formats is excellent. But when one breaks his Test numbers down, we see a distinct pattern…
In 55 home Tests, Warner’s average increases to 58.40 with a whopping 19 hundreds. But in 46 Tests away from home, his average drops to a mediocre 34.01 with just 6 of his 25 Test tons coming on foreign soil. For someone who has been dubbed as the best Test opener of this generation, they are some telling statistics.
I imagine any fervent Warner fans reading this will tell me that it’s not uncommon for cricketers (or perhaps even sportspeople in general) to fare better at home than away. And, of course, they’d be right. It’s not uncommon. But Warner’s drop off away from home is significant though – it’s not just marginal. What’s more, that away record becomes even less impressive when put under the microscope further.
Let’s look at those six away centuries. There were 3 in South Africa – the country with pitches and conditions most similar to Australia than anywhere else; 2 in Bangladesh – Bangladesh a team whom, whilst not the rollovers they were 15-20 years ago, are still among the weakest Test opposition; and 1 in U.A.E – arguably the flattest wickets on earth.
Warner has therefore played Tests in ten different countries away from home, but only scored hundreds in three of them. And those have come in arguably the three easiest countries for him to do so.
The bottom line is therefore this: in 36 Tests across the countries of England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & West Indies, Warner does not have a single Test hundred to his name. What’s worse, his average in these countries, where his method is actually tested, is just 25.63. I repeat, 25.63.
Consequently, there’s an enormous hole in his cricketing CV and, in my opinion, it goes largely unnoticed. Warner hasn’t had success on the raging bunsens of India or Sri Lanka, nor against the red duke ball under cloudy conditions in England. In other words, he hasn’t proven he can be successful across the world. This is strange for someone who is so often dubbed as world class.
2023 is a big year for Australia in Test matches and a big year for David Warner – they face both India and England away from home – their two toughest tests and their two biggest rivals, not to mention they will likely have the World Test Championship Final sandwiched in between as well.
Can Warner, at the age of 36, suddenly find the ability to score runs in all conditions and rip this article to shreds?
Predictably he failed miserably in the first innings in Nagpur- castled spectacularly by Mohammad Shami with just 1 run to his name. But there’s always the second dig…