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It’s time for David Warner to turn around his record on the road

Glenn Mitchell Columnist

By Glenn Mitchell, Glenn Mitchell is a Roar Expert


83 Have your say

    David Warner is a cricketing Jekyll and Hyde. On home pitches, he monsters opposing bowling attacks, averaging 59.2.

    Away from home his average is a modest 37.6, a drop of 21.6 runs.

    The stark nature of the differential between his home and away performances is also mirrored in his career century tally – 14 at home, four away.

    Three of those four centuries on the road have been compiled in South Africa, including one in each innings at Cape Town in March 2014.

    His other away century was scored against Pakistan in the UAE in October of the same year in a match that saw 1259 runs scored for the loss of 32 wickets.

    His Test average in South Africa is 90.5; in the UAE, it is 59.8.

    Beyond that, his away record makes for very ordinary reading: 24.4 in India, 13.0 in New Zealand, 27.2 in Sri Lanka, 26.9 in West Indies, and 37.1 in England.

    For a man who has a career average of 48.3, the gap between his home and away performances seriously reduces his standing in the game.

    On the pitches in Australia and South Africa, with their consistent bounce and pace onto the bat, Warner has been as explosive as any top-order batsman to have played the game.

    He confidently backs himself to play through the line, marrying a good eye and quick hands to great effect. It is very much a case of see ball, hit ball.

    However, when there is sideways movement – through the air in England or off the pitch in the sub-continent – he looks an entirely different batsman.

    David Warner leaves the crease after losing his wicket

    The current Border-Gavaskar series in India has provided more frustration for Warner.

    He has reached double figures in each innings – 38 and 10 at Pune and 33 and 17 at Bangalore – but has been unable to produce a truly meaningful knock.

    In the first innings at Pune, he dragged a wide ball from Umesh Yadav onto his stumps while attempting to drive on the up through the covers. In the second innings, he played down the wrong line to Ravi Ashwin and was trapped in front.

    First up at Bangalore, his dismissal was ugly. He was caught in two minds when Ashwin delivered a full ball outside leg stump. He looked to be shaping to pad the ball away before following it with his hands as it spun across him, beat the outside edge and clattered into off-stump.

    In the second innings, Ashwin had his measure again, with Warner adjudged leg before having attempted to sweep a ball that was too full.

    Ashwin has become Warner’s nemesis. The wily off-spinner has dismissed him nine times, the most by any bowler during his 62-Test career. Next best is England seamer James Anderson, who has claimed him seven times.

    Prior to the current series, Australia’s on-field leaders espoused different strategies.

    Skipper Steve Smith proffered defence as being the key to succeed in India. His deputy believed aggression would be the best way for him to prosper.

    Warner said pre-series, that he hoped, “to keep playing his way and our way as Australian cricketers. ‘Boof’ [coach Darren Lehmann] is a massive fan of taking the game on and trying to win from every situation.”

    Speaking specifically about Warner prior to the series, Smith challenged him to go big on this tour, saying, “I’m going to be different from Davey, you don’t want to get rid of someone’s natural flair and the way they play. But if he gets a hundred it might be about knuckling down again and going big, get 200 or 300”.

    Currently, a century looks a long way off, let alone a double or triple ton.

    Warner has eschewed his normally aggressive approach in this series, despite saying before it got underway it was the best method for him is he was to succeed.

    Against a career strike rate of 78.2, he is going at 56.0 through the first two Tests – still a healthy click for most players but considerably pedestrian by Warner’s normal standards.

    At times, he has appeared to be in two minds as to which is the best way to go about his innings.

    Australia's David Warner

    Warner is one of the few batsmen who is adept at switch hitting and said after the Bangalore loss that he had considered it as an attacking option to combat Ashwin when he was targeting the rough outside his leg stump.

    He said he shelved the idea because he was fearful of being given out leg before wicket if he missed the ball.

    According to the laws that would not be the case. The determination of leg and off-side is based on the position of the batsmen’s pads at “the moment the ball comes into play”, which according to the laws of the game, occurs when the bowler commences his run-up.

    With that having been pointed out to Warner it may be a tactic that he adopts on occasions in the remaining two Tests.

    To date, a softly-softly approach has not borne fruit for him.

    Perhaps he would be advised to look to his traditionally more expansive game for the rest of this series.

    To date, none of the Australian batsmen have succeeded in putting the Indian bowlers onto the defensive.

    As a result, Virat Kohli has had the luxury of employing attacking fields with men huddled around the bat.

    A more aggressive Warner could help alleviate that pressure.

    Glenn Mitchell
    Glenn Mitchell

    After 21 years as a sports broadcaster with the ABC, since mid-2011 Glenn Mitchell has been freelancing in the electronic and written media. He is an ambassador for mental health in Australia, and tweets from @mitchellglenn.

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    The Crowd Says (83)

    • March 16th 2017 @ 5:39am
      Chris Love said | March 16th 2017 @ 5:39am | ! Report

      While indeed it’s time for him to fire overseas, I think and hope it’s just around the corner. He’s simply too good a player for this to go on.

      The laws of the LBW need to change. A batsman is afforded a pretty generous get out clause for balls pitching outside of leg and for very good reason. The second a player switches hands the pitch of the ball should absolutely become irrelevent. As soon as hands are switched, the only measure for LBW should be 1. Hit in line, 2. Ball hitting the stumps.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 10:40am
        Ron said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:40am | ! Report

        I like Warner as he is a class act but if Khawaja had one bad game people would roast him but others get entire series without a word Beinf said against them, Warner has the same issues against Ashwin but not a word from anyone

      • March 16th 2017 @ 11:19am
        Andy said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        How is he too good a player? At home or in South Africa absolutely if he had only averaged 20 odd in four times at bat he is too good a player but this isnt in Australia. At the moment he is playing as his skill set and stats would make you think he should be playing.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 12:01pm
        Arky said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:01pm | ! Report

        Yes, because switch-hitting is dominating Test cricket and we absolutely need to change the long-standing rules of the game in order to get rid of it!

        Oorrrrrrrr…. we could just leave the rules as they are because switch-hitting is just a novelty?

    • Columnist

      March 16th 2017 @ 7:45am
      Geoff Parkes said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:45am | ! Report

      Hi Glenn

      I think he hasn’t batted too badly in this series so far and tried to apply himself to the different conditions and situation.

      But those home and away numbers are compelling. The elephant in the room, which you don’t touch on, is his bat.

      It will be fascinating to see if he continues to score so heavily in home conditions with his bat dialled back a bit by the new regulations. I suspect he won’t enjoy the same success, and for many, a bit like Adam Voges, his career stats will be marked with an asterix.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 11:21am
        Andy said | March 16th 2017 @ 11:21am | ! Report

        I think he will have worse away stats and about the same at home ones, he is a great batsmen if the ball isnt moving around. He doesnt nick much at all at home, he hits most balls perfectly so the bat size i dont think is that important.

        • Columnist

          March 16th 2017 @ 12:09pm
          Geoff Parkes said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:09pm | ! Report

          I beg to differ Andy. It’s not the edges I’m talking about but bat thickness. All those shots on the off side where he punches length balls into gaps, no footwork, no timing, but they still race away for four.

          I’m sure there’s a correlation and I have a suspicion that those runs will dry up a bit.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 1:49pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            The modern bat design is more about making the sweet spot bigger. When you see Mark Waugh putting the ball onto the roof of the WACA while looking like he’s barely hit it you realise that even in older bats if you hit them in the middle they’d go just as far. The difference now is the ability for complete mis-hits to still go for six.

            The changes in bat regulations will only result in reasonably subtle changes to the bats, they’ll still hit the ball nicely. Chances are if they change anything it will be that mis-hits won’t go as far and the biggest difference that will make is it will make it harder to take on fielders on the boundary, because a slight mis-hit and you are out, where at the moment, a slight mis-hit will often still go for six.

            As such, I don’t see the bat change effecting test cricket at all really, but it could have effect in the closing overs of ODI’s and T20’s where batsmen often get to the point of not caring where the fieldsmen are because they just back themselves to clear them.

            As for those punches into gaps, there often is footwork, and it’s all timing. I don’t know how you can claim no timing, that’s what it’s all about, forgetting trying to hit it hard, just time it well right off the middle and it will go.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 9:19pm
        jeznez said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:19pm | ! Report

        The guy is a glorious batsman on roads which he gets at home – is he the reason the pitches have not been what we expected them to be over the first couple of tests?

        Does he warrant his place in the side even without scoring heavily if he influences the home sides pitch preparation/decision?

        Essentially – even if he doesn’t turn around his away performance – does he still warrant his spot? Or could he do that named in the 12 and then adjusted in or out come match time depending on the pitch? Not sure his ego would like that but is there a better option on a pitch that doesn’t favour him?

    • March 16th 2017 @ 8:21am
      spruce moose said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:21am | ! Report

      The idea of warner turning his away form around on this tour won’t happen.

      1. The pitches are viciously against batsmen, and not just the feeble like Warner. Him hitting 38 one innings is actually quite impressive.
      2. He doesn’t have the talent or discipline to succeed away from road pitches.
      3. This is a man who has toured the west indies twice and still couldn’t cash in.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 1:53pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:53pm | ! Report

        People keep going on about him only being able to score runs on “road” pitches, yet his career in all forms of the game is littered with innings where he’s scored big and made it look easy, which every other batsman in the match has struggled. People then watch his innings and because he makes it look so easy they say it was a road, but the struggles of every other batsman in the match suggests the opposite.

        That being said, I think he will struggle to make a big score if the Indian’s keep rolling out pitches here like this on which all the batsmen are really struggling to make a big score. But I actually think that one of the reasons we are seeing pitches like this instead of the sort that England played on is a fear of what Warner can do if they give him anything resembling a nice batting track.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 3:01pm
          spruce moose said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:01pm | ! Report

          No Chris

          That’s simply not true. He scored his first century on a tough pitch in Hobart, but it was still at home. And it was a great century. We’ve not seen anything else since from him in test cricket that can suggest he can

          a) outlast the pitch
          b) replicate his Hobart innings away from Australia.

          Anyone’s career will have the odd amazing knock. What defines greats from the rest is that they have many of them, everywhere.

          Hobart was more a statistical anomaly rather than an expression of talent.

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 7:41pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 7:41pm | ! Report

            Actually it wasn’t. If you care to spend the time looking through his record in all forms of the game you’ll find probably something like half his centuries have been scored in matches in which all the other batsmen massively struggled by comparison. Even his second hundred which came in the same summer at Perth, which was one where he blazed away and brought it up in quick time, no other player in that match looked remotely comfortable batting out there. He scored more than India’s whole innings and well over half the Australian total.

            I’m not disagreeing that he has had plenty of struggles, and there are certainly conditions out there he’s far from having mastered, but his history of making it look easy in conditions where all other batsmen have struggled definitely goes far beyond that Hobart test.

            The “outlast” comment is certainly valid. He’s still to show the ability to bat through a days cricket. Where he’s made a big hundred it’s because he’s made it quickly.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 8:34am
      Baz said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Just saying clarke seems to be sucking up to indians big time for a former australian captian he just follows the money.

      Yes he needs to score more runs.

      However his 30’s on these crap pitches isn’t super bad its the 10 and the 17 which is where he gets it wrong he just need a bit of luck that’s all and he’ll be off.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 12:22pm
        Thunder Nation said | March 16th 2017 @ 12:22pm | ! Report

        hahah good cal Baz I have noticed that too

        Saying Symonds make too much of a deal about the racial slur

        Harbajan escaped a ban which was just wrong

        Clarke is living in a shadow.

        He should reallt go out and get a job in real estate or corn farming, honest to goodness work

        Instead of pandering to India

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 1:55pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:55pm | ! Report

        Gotta think that if he got a bit of the luck that some of the other batsmen have got he may have been able to make a big score. Plenty of batsmen have been dropped numerous times, but while I could be wrong, I don’t believe Warner has really had any such luck in his innings. It will be interesting to see how this pitch plays. If it’s even slightly more consistent and better to bat on than those in the last couple of matches Warner could well turn the 30 into something a lot bigger.

    • Roar Rookie

      March 16th 2017 @ 8:43am
      El Loco said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:43am | ! Report

      His overall away record isn’t great but this isn’t the time to be driven by it. The seemingly small contributions he’s made so far shouldn’t be dismissed, they’ve been valuable, and I’m still adamant it’s the right approach. This idea that he can magically hit his way to glory is stupid, the humility he’s showing is getting somewhere. When he was bowled by Ashwin it was a great delivery, a pretty honourable way for any batsman to go. Imagine if he’d been trying to hoik it over the midwicket fence, it’d have been laughable, a pathetic message to the team.

      • March 16th 2017 @ 10:29am
        Jameswm said | March 16th 2017 @ 10:29am | ! Report

        He’s had 2 or 3 50 run opening stands with Renshaw, which have been gold. I think he should keep going how he is.

    • March 16th 2017 @ 9:09am
      bigbaz said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:09am | ! Report

      Warner will probably have to live with the moniker “flat track bully ” all his life , but I doubt anyone can dispute his application and determination to soak up time, deliveries and shine on this tour. I hope he is rewarded with a match winning score.

      • Roar Guru

        March 16th 2017 @ 1:57pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 1:57pm | ! Report

        Despite the fact that it’s a completely wrong moniker. He so regularly makes batting look easy on pitches where every other batsman on both teams seems to find it a struggle. But I guess that’s just certain types of difficult pitches that he’s mastered and others he still needs a lot of work on.

        • March 16th 2017 @ 3:47pm
          spruce moose said | March 16th 2017 @ 3:47pm | ! Report

          “He so regularly makes batting look easy on pitches where every other batsman on both teams seems to find it a struggle.”

          Put up or shut up Chris. Examples.

          Warner has against the rest of the top 5 performed by far the worst. He doesn’t own a 50 to his name this series, and yet another cheap knock just now…

          • Roar Guru

            March 16th 2017 @ 8:02pm
            Chris Kettlewell said | March 16th 2017 @ 8:02pm | ! Report

            To bring out all the examples like I have done on these forums at least once before, takes time that I don’t necessarily feel like putting in every single time someone wants to make that comment. But you might want to be careful saying put up or shut up and then making a blatantly wrong statement in the next sentence. Since Warner actually has a better average in this series so far than both Shaun Marsh and Peter Handscomb, who are both in that top 5 you talk about. Only Renshaw and Smith are actually averaging better than him. And in fact, India only have 3 batsmen averaging better than him so far in the series, and one is only just.

            So while he’s not had a good series, there are plenty of other batsmen doing significantly worse. He’s definitely not been “by far the worst”.

            I’m not denying Warner’s struggles, but just pointing out the number of times where he manages to make things look easy while everyone else seems to really struggle, in both test innings and ODI innings. (A number of his recent ODI hundreds have been in matches where he’s basically carried the team making batting look easy while the other batsmen really seem to struggle). Not only his first test innings in Hobart where he carried his bat, but the next one against India where he scored more himself than India managed in either innings and only one other player in the Aussie top 7 managed to pass 20. There’s his hundred in Dubai where the next best score was in the 30’s. Then there are others where other players have managed to score runs, but have looked to really struggle doing so while Warner manages to look completely at ease.

            Sure he’s cashed in at times the pitch has been good for batting, but he’s shown enough to suggest he should be able to do better than he has been managing so far in this series.

            • March 16th 2017 @ 9:11pm
              spruce moose said | March 16th 2017 @ 9:11pm | ! Report


              you are saying things without providing proof.

              Warner may have a higher series average than Shaun Marsh (woo hoo) or Handscomb, but both of those boys still managed to stick around long enough to at least pass 50 once.

              You like referencing Perth – a home test.

              I’ll give you Dubai. Just one piddly overseas example.

              Sadly, ODI’s don’t count unless he can back it up in tests. He’s not capable of it. It was a ‘fighting’ 19 today. But don’t worry, he’ll find form again in November. I guarantee it.

              • Roar Guru

                March 17th 2017 @ 12:16pm
                Chris Kettlewell said | March 17th 2017 @ 12:16pm | ! Report

                I have never said that Warner doesn’t have his struggles and he has significantly struggled away from home compared to his home form. But that’s different to being a “flat track bully”. I personally hate the term, it’s a term that’s regularly flung around by people with less talent in their entire body than the person that’s the target of their ire has in their little finger). But a flat track bully would be someone who only ever scores runs in conditions when basically everyone is scoring runs because it’s easy to score runs, and in those conditions they just do awesome.

                Warner, to this point, has been vastly better in conditions more like he’s familiar with at home than away, but that’s different to being a flat track bully.

                A good example of this being that I expect you’d have still backed him to fail even on an Indian “flat-track” because it is still very foreign conditions.