At the start of this year, all eyes were on two players David Warner and Steve Smith. Their bans were coming to an end, they could take part in international cricket again. However, they were still playing a few T20 leagues here and there.
It was slightly unusual for Smith who preferred to play less T20 cricket for a few years in the lead up to the ban. Barring the IPL, Smith barely played any other T20s. But he did turn out to play the likes of Global T20 Canada (GLT20) and Bangladesh Premier League (BPL). He was supposed to play the Pakistan Super League (PSL) as well but an elbow injury meant that he had to withdraw.
On the other hand, it was pretty natural for Warner. After all, it was due to T20 cricket that he made a name and gradually came up with the ranks in other formats. The left-handed Aussie opener tried playing as much as he could last year (2018). GLT20 in Canada, Grade cricket in Australia, BPL, before making a return to the IPL and then international cricket.
There were question marks about how Warner would return to top-class cricket, whether he could bring his old mojo back or will this be a new Warner after the ban? The pocket-sized dynamo had all the answers ready and he’s answered it with the bat.
In just 25 T20 matches this year, the left-hander has accumulated 1202 runs at an average of 70.7. All these have come at a strike-rate of 141.94. He has 13 fifties and two hundred to his name. Also, his average is the best in T20s in 2019 (among all players who’ve played at least 20 games).
Warner has turned into a T20 beast. It was evident with the way he turned out and played the IPL. He may not have eye-catching numbers in international cricket but he’s improving every day. But in the Indian T20 league, he’s become Mr. Consistent ever since switching to the Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH). He’s played five seasons and has aggregated 3271 runs at an average of 55.44 and a strike-rate of 146.88. He’s won the Orange Cap thrice (2015, 2017 and 2019) and in 2016, he scored a phenomenal 848 runs in a season which was overshadowed by Virat Kohli’s mind-boggling 973.
This year has been no different for Warner. He played the Bangladesh Premier League (BPL) at the start of the year and scored 233 runs at an average of 37.16. An elbow injury cut short his tournament. The New South Wales lad returned to the IPL after missing the 2018 edition (due to the ban). Warner scored 692 runs at an average of 69.20 which included eight half-centuries and a hundred. In the 12 innings he played, Warner failed to cross 30 only twice. For the record third time, Warner won the Orange Cap.
Warner continued his white-ball exploits in the World Cup and was only one-run short of the leading run-getter Rohit Sharma’s tally of 648 runs. He struggled to bring the same form in the longest format. In the five Ashes Tests, he couldn’t make an impact.
However, as the home season started, Warner was back in his favorite format. He was back to his smashing best as well. He’s played six innings (three each against Sri Lanka and Pakistan) and has amassed 287 runs. He got out just once and in fact, between his two T20I dismissals, he has the second-most runs (239). Moreover, against Sri Lanka, he became just the third batsman to score a fifty in all three games of a T20I series and was unbeaten in all games as well. Warner has been dismissed just once in T20Is this year which has put his average of 287.00 at the top for 2019 in T20I cricket.
When you think of Warner you think of brash, bold and aggressive; someone who takes the game head-on and wants to bash everything from the get-go. However, post the ban, Warner has been a changed man and the change has been for the good. The Australian opener has taken a slightly different approach.
He has started to take slightly more time at the start of the innings. He’s become a lot more selective in his approach, tending to ease himself into the innings, take more control before starting to dominate and going into his berserk mode. And it’s worked.
Warner has taken his T20 batting to another level in the last few years and is only getting better by the day. It bodes well for Australia with the T20 World Cup less than a year away.
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