Top-level international cricket may be hard to come by for David Warner in the lead-up to the 2019 World Cup, but he is confident he can stake a claim for a place in Australia’s squad. Into the fourth month of the one-year ban imposed by Cricket Australia, Warner, the former Australia vice-captain, said the time he spends playing other forms of competitive cricket will hold him in good stead ahead of next year’s IPL, which will be immediately followed by the world tournament in May.
“I know the break’s doing me well,” Warner said, after scoring a 32-ball 36 for City Cyclones in the NT Strike League, a grade tournament in Darwin, on Saturday. “You don’t lose form overnight. I’ll wake up every day, face Mitchell Starc, [Pat] Cummins, [Josh] Hazlewood, the best bowlers I feel in the world. If I can face them consistently in training, when the ban’s up, that gets you back in. You know there’s plenty of warm-up games, I will be in the IPL as well leading into that. There’s plenty of cricket, plenty of world-class players playing there to get my preparation on song.”
Warner’s stint with the Cyclones comes on the heels of his return to competitive cricket in Global T20 Canada. In nine appearances in the tournament, he only made 109 runs, with a top-score of 55 for the Winnipeg Hawks.
In a somewhat unexpected turn of events, he even led the side with designated captain Dwayne Bravo injured; he has been banned for life from captaining any side in Australian cricket. With less than a year to go for the World Cup, Warner underlined the importance of any game time he gets, including the forthcoming Caribbean Premier League.
“I’m here [at the NT Strike] to play cricket and I love doing that,” Warner said. “I wouldn’t be here today and continue to keep working my backside off to keep scoring runs for each team that I play for if I didn’t love it. I wouldn’t be here, I’d probably retire.
“This is just a little stepping stone to keep continuing my progress to putting my hand up and keep enabling myself to keep scoring as many runs as I can for every single team I play for in the next eight months.”
Given his busy schedule as an international cricketer, the break from cricket Warner has had in the aftermath of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal is an unusually long one.
“The longest I’ve had is six weeks off in the last, I guess, seven years,” Warner said. “The last 12 weeks before I went to Canada was great, just to reflect on myself as a human being, just be a dad and a husband. It’s been pleasurable and I’ve really enjoyed that.
“We live in a bubble, and we don’t realise it until it’s taken away from you. There’s a lot more to life than just cricket. Things happen for a reason; this is probably my break to keep me going to prolong my career.”
Playing grade cricket, Warner said, also gave him an opportunity to give something back at the grassroots level.
“At the moment in grade cricket, talking to a few people, they say that competition’s going to be weaker. So it’s upon us to try and go back and strengthen that as much as we can and try and progress people to come up here and play as much as they can with the local lads.
“Just want to keep hoping and giving back to the guys up here and the community. They helped us a lot before we went for Bangladesh series. That helped Cricket Australia. When I had the opportunity to come up here and play and help the guys as much as I can.”