“If you have a lesser squad and still want to reach the play-offs; if things get worse during the season with injuries to key players and you still aspire to a top-four finish; if you want someone who can take tough calls like sitting out a player of international fame when he is not performing; if you want someone who could lift his own performance when there is urgent need. I’m your man. I’m David Warner.”
In a world where self-promotion has become all the rage, that’s exactly how Warner, if he had to, would market himself, no? And for once, there would be no exaggeration and spiel.
That Sunrisers Hyderabad have managed to qualify for the 2020 IPL playoffs is totally Warner’s accomplishment. A leader par excellence.
The way SRH performed at the start of the IPL, there was no real hope for them. That sight of Mitchell Marsh limping out to bat as No.10 due to an injury picked up earlier in the match and being not able to take SRH over the line despite showing huge courage was enough to move one to tears.
Then the sight of Bhuvneshwar Kumar hobbling out of the field and a couple of days later being declared out for the rest of the season... no way could SRH have come back after that! A lesser captain and player would have given up and waited for the league stage to get over and go back home in brooding silence.
When victories didn’t come thick and fast, he dropped the out-of-touch Jonny Bairstow from the playing XI and brought back Wriddhiman Saha. A call that didn’t seem right at the time.
Saha, however, turns out a masterstroke and SRH win the remaining three games in style to qualify for the play-offs. No praise is enough for Warner the captain.
As a batsman he didn’t look his best for the large part of the league stage, often getting out when the team needed him to hit big shots. He was making runs alright, but his strike rate was a big problem when compared to his destructive performances in the past.
Cometh the hour, cometh the man!
Against Delhi Capitals in what was their third last game of the league stage, he scored 66 off just 34 balls and led from the front in a big win, and then last night he smashed a 58-ball 85* against Mumbai Indians, in the process helping his team reach the play-offs with a 10-wicket authoritative win.
Warner has definitely put on a captaincy clinic and KL Rahul & Shreyas Iyer can learn a thing or two from him.
There are many in Australian cricket who are of the opinion that Shane Warne was the greatest captain Australia never had. It’s safe to say Warner is another whose captaincy skills Australia will never get to witness and celebrate, thanks to that unfortunate ball-tampering incident in 2018. After which he was banned for a year with the addendum that he would never be considered for future leadership roles since he was central to the controversy that saw Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft also being banned.
That is Cricket Australia’s decision, and we could do nothing there. But as far as SRH are concerned, they are so lucky to have such a fantastic leader. They should cherish him; he is rare. At the risk of appearing overly sentimental... rarer than the Kohinoor!
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