WARNER’S SEARCH FOR FORM
Warner finished the recently-concluded Ashes series with just 95 runs in ten innings, averaging less than 10. © Getty
Australian opener David Warner had a nightmare of a series in the recently-concluded Ashes in England. Far from an ideal return to Test cricket post the one-year ban for the sandpaper scandal, for someone who averages in the high 40s in Test cricket, Warner finished the series with just 95 runs in ten innings, averaging less than 10. The left-handed opener struggled against Stuart Broad in particular throughout the five-Test series, falling to him seven out of ten times – a feat which turned out to be a new Test record.
However, Dale Steyn urges the Australian selectors to stick with Warner when Australia play Pakistan and New Zealand later in the year. Backing the Australian opener, Steyn was quoted as saying on Cricket Australia: “Warner is one of the best batters I’ve ever bowled to. He puts you under pressure from ball one on day one of a Test match. In this case, he’s been found wanting around the wicket against someone like Broady (Broad) attacking that off stump. Sometimes that can happen.
“But he’ll get to Australia, he’ll find some form, he’ll be playing around his mates and around his home crowd and that can quickly change for him. World-class players don’t become rubbish overnight, especially over one tour. He’ll be fine, I wouldn’t drop him at all. I’d leave it as it is.”
If Warner had a dreadful time in the UK, his teammate Steve Smith, had a dream return. The former Australian captain notched up 774 runs in the Ashes at an astonishing average of 110.57, leaving the opposition stunned with his heroics. The fans who were booing him for the major part of the series gave him a standing ovation after his last innings of the series. The English bowlers tried their best to get him out by attacking the lines outside off, but Smith in his very own way, by shuffling across and with his unique technique tackled everything that came his way.
Throwing some light on batsmen with an unorthodox technique during his time, Steyn said it was always difficult to get them out. “When I bowled to batters like Michael Vaughan or Jacques Kallis who were classical, technically perfect sound batters, I always found that I could get them out. It was only the weird guys that came around, like Shiv Chanderpaul and Steve Smith, they really confuse you about the line you should be bowling. Whether that should be on the stumps or outside the stumps.”
Quite similar to what Steyn said, even English bowlers found it difficult to bowl according to their plans against Smith. “Steve has come… and with his technique that he’s naturally developed, he’s just confusing bowlers left, right and centre. They literally don’t know where to bowl to this guy. And while they’re trying to work that out, he’s clubbing them all over the place and scoring runs at the same time.
“He’s wonderful, he’s got a great eye and a very difficult and weird technique to work out, which is working for him beautifully. Steve Smith is a marvellous player,” Steyn concluded.