It’s been some time since I thought of pushing this one through. I believe – as many others do – ‘writing’ to be the most intimate way of putting forward your thoughts, as the pen offers a more unabridged flow of emotion than the tongue. This is not the typical congratulatory note but rather an unblemished encryption of admiration from the inspired heart of an ardent fan.
Dropping in debutants at the drop of a hat has been an Australian habit – not a practice – for an eternity. So the baggy greens’ decision to push in another unknown commodity atop the batting line-up in a T20 in 2009 drew as much attention as a tailor’s dummy. I being a keen follower of domestic cricket had heard many an amicus curiae offering titbits about this pint sized material which resembled a bunch of bristling, boisterous energy. Hard as nuts, David Warner’s international story had a prologue to it which was laced with anecdotes of the hardest hitting, naturally commanding intrigue.
Big hitting has become the pill to be gulped in for catalysing financial transformation. Among a plethora of powerful strikers of the cricket ball in the modern game, you stand out for the practised ease you exhibit in admonishing the cherry, a lithe which is almost unmanly in itself. Cricket connoisseurs who carefully observe and not just watch your dynamics will appreciate and acknowledge the innate beauty underpinning your aggression, which makes for a gripping narrative. Cut from roughly the same cloth as Adam Gilchrist, you provide power with finesse of the finest quality reiterating the verity that cricket is as much about brain as brawn.
As David Warner scampered out to take on a vicious and virulent Proteas attack, little did the bookies predict about carnage around the bend. Armed with a mind sans muddle, Warner thwarted the generals in the South African regiment with devastating disdain. Big hitting, like technical prowess, is an art which bears its own charm; it demands a certain skill-set and needs to be appreciated and accepted as wholesome entertainment. Warner’s demolition threw all notions of misplaced conservatism in the T20 format to the bin. A newbie to the international arena, Warner thrived on the freedom accompanying anonymity, leveraging the same for maximum returns. An 89 at supersonic speeds made this pint sized material a pocket dynamo, more than capable of an explosion. That his talents were broad church were manifested in the very first episode of a series that would top the chartbusters in the years to come.
Your seamless transition from T20 glamour to Test cricket grit has been as magnificent a cricketing phenomenon as there has ever been. The manner in which you earned the purists’ applause with aplomb makes you the purple cow, standing out in the T20 marauders’ lounge. It is not often that big bucks in the abridged version are accompanied by respect in the game’s oldest version. Your annihilation of the Proteas with back-to-back hundreds was the perfect desert to a gourmet who feasted on the Aussie brutality en route to Ashes glory. Soaring high on form and octane, you were solidity personified in technical defiance. Caution coupled with aggression was put up on display, an exhibition enamouring a deluge of followers. A team had found the formulae to win the big points away from home, and a maverick freak had endeared himself to his bandwagon of fans more than before.
With the concoction of fame came the craziness in action and word. Warner’s visits to the bar multiplied as did the pegs he gulped in. Drunken dramatics reached a crescendo when Joe Root found himself at the receiving end of Davey’s fury. A punch on Root’s face was the last straw. Warner had gambled in full with his Ashes ticket and had lost the stakes. The English chuckled at the thought of a Warner-less Aussie line-up. The Poms had drawn first blood even before the first ball had been bowled. Amidst a swampy muddle with himself to blame, Warner had the choice: a make or break one.
The ability to parry through many a hurdle and come out unscathed and unperturbed, battle ready as ever. That separates the champions from the merely talented ones. The tough gets up and running in the most testing of times. As a keen follower of your game, I was as much a witness to your misery as your miracles. The aftermath of the “punch-gate” was hard for you to swallow, harder for many a fan like me to digest, but, deep within, I knew that the baggy green meant much more to you than the splendour accompanying the same. A nip here, a tuck there, you could be back to where you deservedly belonged. Cricket isn’t rich enough to let go of a talent like you. Yes, the game needed you as much as you wanted it. The way you grinded it out with the ‘A’ side in South Africa meant that Warner the warrior hadn’t called it quits yet. Life was being breathed into your aspirations of a super-quick return. A booming century in the “concentration camp”, as they put it, made your comeback concomitant to an Aussie side that was floundering in the English heat.
There has been no turning back since then. I find myself going delirious with delight on every stroke of yours, with the swing of your arms bringing in swoons of joy. The T20 World Cup is sure to bring out the best of David Warner. Add to it a couple of months of IPL glitterati, fans can drink in your magnificence, parched with pining in the summer heat.
Thanks mate, for making the cricketing world a better place. The fans owe you one for gracing their loved sport and providing rampaging entertainment every single time with a promise for more. Thank you.