T20 World Cup: David Warner's story finally finds its redemption arc
David Warner's match-winning half-century against Sri Lanka would've felt extra special given the nonsense that has surrounded him recently
To say that the last couple of months and the entire year, in general, has been among the most tumultuous phases in David Warner's career would be an understatement. Not only was his sacking as Sunrisers Hyderabad captain disgracefully handled, but the franchise also went on to add insult to injury by consistently dropping him from the squad in IPL 2021. For the last few matches of IPL, Warner wasn't even allowed to travel with the team to the stadium.
Yes, his form had been terrible of late. But he's the same guy who had led Sunrisers Hyderabad gloriously since assuming leadership and even won them the coveted IPL trophy in 2016. Warner is the highest-scoring overseas player in the history of the cash-rich league and is the fifth-highest scorer of all time. You'd think that warrants a certain kind of respect, no?
Having fallen inexplicably out of favour with SRH, David Warner now finds the warmth of embrace in a more familiar Australia camp where everyone from the coaching staff to the players back him with the reputation he deserves. Therefore, when he had scored 0, 2, 0, 1, 14 in the month leading up to the T20 World Cup and couldn't make much of an impression in the game against South Africa, it didn't worry the camp too much.
David Warner's form might've been a walking disaster but if there's one thing which he didn't lack during this entire time, it was his self-belief and the confidence to turn the situation around. Therefore, when he took on the Sri Lankan bowlers in the Powerplay instead of playing too many dots and trying to soak the pressure, it showed signs of the class and temperament he possesses, one that is equal parts instinct and equal parts method.
Yes, the dropped catches and the misfields along the way gave him the lives to finally make the difference. But once he was done with the Powerplay, Warner didn't take long to get into his element. He welcomed the pacer's slower balls with masterful strokes through the leg side. On shots where he couldn't generate enough power, Warner made it up by running hard between the stumps and covering his 1s into 2s.
When the 35-year-old raised his bat, took off his helmet and kissed it, it might've tasted just that extra sweet. Not only had he shut his detractors for this time, he had also stood true on his own word. That every sportsperson goes through ups and downs. Form is temporary, class is permanent.
After the game was won, he was gleeful at the media conference but didn't get carried away. Being a seasoned veteran, he is aware of the ebb and flow nature of sport. "Tonight, I had to obviously start fresh," Warner said. "Everyone was talking about my form, which I reiterated was not a thing I was worried about. It was about going out there and starting well. That's all we're trying to do, apply pressure to the bowlers.
Shutting the critics down? No, never. That's the world of sport. When you ride the highs, you've got to ride the lows and you've got to stay confident, keep a smile on your face, and never let it get to you."
If the night against Sri Lanka where David Warner rediscovered his mojo is a sign of things to come, the entire nation of Australia can breathe a huge sigh of relief.