Page 9 - Touchline 32-JULY 2019
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OPINION




 DAVID WARNER: AUSTRALIAN CRICKET’S ANTI-HERO














 t is hard to really like David   ghastly moustache he sprouted prior to the series.
 Warner. You can admire him, will   Warner, while clearly a very able anti-hero, is also an
 him to win, crave those high cheek   excellent cricketer. He can hit the boundary with the
 Exocet force that has not been seen since the days of
 Ibones, but like him?  Adam Gilchrist; this powerful left-hander is famous for
 debuting for Australia without having played a single
 Tough.  first grade game. Central to the World Cup winning
 team in 2015, he smashed a colossal 178 against bunnies
 But Australian cricket is getting another dose of the   Afghanistan.
 man who is widely suspected to be the architect behind   From there, he became Vice-Captain to Smith and a
 the shoddily constructed edifice that became known as   mainstay to the test team. To a large extent, he was the
 Sanderpaper Gate.  natural successor to such uber-competitors as Steve
 To those who were enjoying a media black out just over   Waugh and Allan Border.  A sledger of great virtuosity, the
 a year ago, existential panic gripped the nation of Australia   toxic culture that is said to have engulfed Australian cricket
 when it was revealed that the national team were guilty   is in many ways personified by Warner. The stakes are high,
 of ball tampering during their tour of South Africa. The   and to a large extent it is a closed shop. Echoes of discord
 manner of the attack on the ball was farcical, and really   abound, though they rarely emerge from the vault of the   Warner, while clearly a very able anti-hero, is also an
 cemented their reputation as the most arrogant yet inept   dressing room. One such example was the famous shirt
 criminal enterprise in world cricket.   fronting pulled off by Simon Katich against then-captain   excellent cricketer. He can hit the boundary with the
 Warner, then-captain Steve Smith and opener Cameron   and suspected fancy man Michael Clarke.
 Bancroft were all ditched after a cover up and public   Just what the rest of the team thinks or Warner is hard   Exocet force that has not been seen since the days of
 shaming, with the Prime Minister himself getting in the mix.   for those outside this closed shop to say. Reports emerged
 If stocks were still part of the correctional apparatus   in March that the bowling posse was so horrified that   Adam Gilchrist.
 they would surely have featured the three players in St.   Warner would soon be back in the dressing room that
 Martin’s Square.  they threatened to boycott on masse. Ridiculous, libellous
 Warner’s status as moustache-twirling villain was   came the response, but there is probably more under the
 merely confirmation of his already ambivalent place in the   “great bloke” and “fierce competitor” sound bites that were
 cricket-watching public’s mind. This was not helped by the   dropped by those accused the following day.   There are rumours that he is largely blamed for the   The Twenty20 gang got white-washed by Pakistan.
            whole mess, and that the dressing room is fractured. Which   Things were really not great.
            raises the question: should he be donning pads at the ODI   Then Justin Langer managed to get his tiny hands on
            World Cup at all?                                  the joystick and pulled the collective back onto its flight
               The argument for inclusion is pretty convincing. He is   path. Langer, known for his integrity and play-in-the-right-
            a born winner. At 32, he is an elder statesman, with all the   spiritedness, has injected the concept of values into the
            scars and fireside stories to help stiffen the spines of the   team. They, truth be told, seem to be using the word in the
            young guns. Runs matter too, and he has a bagful of them   correct parts of their sentences, but it remains to be seen
            after a typically concussive season in the IPL. At the time of
                                                               whether these values have been fully digested.
 “But should he even be   writing, his average was 87.25 with a strike rate of 146.63.  been done, or only appears to have been served. The good
                                                                 And the cricketing public will never know if justice has
               But should he even be donning the yellow pyjamas?
            The limited overs team looks set. After the Sandpapergate   news is that sports fans have short memories, and if he
 donning the yellow pyjamas?”  apocalypse, Australia went into a tailspin of epic   managed to run up some big scores, all will be forgiven.
            proportions. Immediately after, the test team was crushed,
                                                                                             By Timothy Mottram
            losing the next test by almost 500 runs. The one day team
            got smoked by England, who scored a record 481 against
            the wounded and supine Australians.








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