You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

New-look Warner will let bat do talking

AAP logoAAP 1/11/2016 Rob Forsaith

If Bupa reprises its 'healthier you' campaign, the firm could do a lot worse than recruit David Warner as figurehead.

You would have to be living under a rock to have missed the way Warner has turned his life around - on and off the cricket pitch - in recent years.

Warner was formerly known as 'The Bull' but teammates recently settled on a new moniker of 'The Reverend'.

In the past year he has been promoted to national vice-captain, skippered his club to an Indian Premier League title, won the Allan Border medal and been named Australia's Sporting Father of the Year.

Warner remains capable of belting the ball all over the park but is now far more judicious than the Twenty20 slugger he first came to fame as.

A renewed focus on fitness means that running between the wickets is now arguably the opener's most potent asset.

Meeting Candice Falzon shortly after clocking Joe Root in 2013 is widely viewed as the turning point in Warner's career.

But there were still obvious rough edges when Warner toured South Africa the following year.

He was sternly criticised by Proteas captain Graeme Smith and fined by the International Cricket Council after all but accusing wicketkeeper AB de Villiers of ball tampering.

Warner also quipped during the series that Proteas spinner Robin Peterson has a chip on his shoulder, Vernon Philander was only potent on pitches that suited him and that the hosts looked "lazy" in the field.

He also woofed at Faf du Plessis, who had likened the tourists to a "pack of dogs" during the series decider.

"We had players who verbally got together and really showed presence out there," Warner said.

There are unlikely to be similar fireworks at the WACA on Thursday, when Australia start their three-Test series against South Africa.

"I've started to let my bat do the talking. That's what happens when you evolve as a player," Warner said.

"That's all I have to worry about when I'm out there. With the new laws and the demerit points they go for two years, so I can't afford to sit out a game."

Warner's transition from problem child to polished professional hasn't been lost on former skipper Steve Waugh.

"We had a chat about cricket and life a few years ago (prior to Warner meeting Falzon). He's very impressive with the way he has turned things around," Waugh said.

"He's a fiercely determined guy. Even when I spoke to him, you could tell he had that burning desire within. That he wanted to be something special and make something of his career.

"He comes from a humble background so he's very hungry in what he does. He realises it's a huge honour to play for Australia. I like the way he's continually trying to improve."

Coach Darren Lehmann regards the transformation as "exceptional".

"As a player he just gets better and better," Lehmann observed.

Cricket Australia boss James Sutherland, who publicly put Warner on notice in the past and harboured doubts about his leadership potential, has also been incredibly impressed.

"Seems as though marriage has been good time him, fatherhood's been good to him, vice-captaincy's been good to him and long may that last," Sutherland said in the lead-up to the first Test.

"He's stepping up as a leader and continuing to make runs and doing what he does best."

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon