South Africa in Australia 2012-13 November 15, 2012

South Africa batsmen easily distracted - Warner


South Africa's batsmen were too easily distracted during the first Test and would do well to improve their concentration if they wish to bat for longer periods in Adelaide, according to Australia's opener David Warner.

Seldom short of a word to his opponents, Warner said Australia's players were tired of the South Africans pulling away before the ball was bowled in Brisbane. It was a saga that reached an angry climax when James Pattinson and Graeme Smith exchanged words after South Africa's captain backed off - understandably - when a bird flew across his eye-line with the bowler about to deliver. Warner thinks the issue of movement around the sight-screen had been overplayed.

"I don't think you saw any of our players stop once because of guys walking behind the sight screen," Warner said. "I don't know how you can be that distracted or what they're looking at or what they're seeing. They've got to try and take those little distractions out of their mind because that could be something that's detracting from their game and preventing them from staying out there for longer periods.

"If the guy's in the fourth tier at the MCG and you see someone move, you're looking way too much and you're too distracted. The other day AB de Villiers played a ball when the sight-screen was still on the advertising board, so if he's just concentrating on the specifics of the bowler then that's fantastic. But someone is moving away because a guy is peaking his head behind the sight screen - if you're picking those little things up I think you're not watching the bowler hard enough."

Warner himself had reason to wonder about his powers of focus and concentration after his innings on a friendly Gabba wicket ended after only 16 minutes, 15 deliveries and four runs. A cheap dismissal, edging Dale Steyn, seemed the logical conclusion to a preparation that featured plenty of time on the bench, with Delhi Daredevils in the Champions League, and only one first-class match since April. Warner admitted he had sought the counsel of Michael Clarke, Ricky Ponting and Michael Hussey about finding focus and purpose as a cricketer, when a relentless schedule and his commitments as a T20 commodity detract from that end.

"[To play] three forms, as I've found out in the last 12-18 months, [has] been mad, it's been hectic. I've thoroughly enjoyed it, but now I start respecting the guys who've played for the last 10 years," Warner said. "I talk to guys like Ricky and Michael and Huss about how they mentally get through it all, and they say to us you've just got to try to find some time off somewhere in the year to take your mind off cricket. Any week you get off you try to spend it at home or just doing the little things you can to help cricket in Australia."

Warner watched his opening partner Ed Cowan closely during the Brisbane Test, admiring his concentration and balance between attack and defence. "Ed leaves a lot of balls that I'm probably playing at and that's what I'm learning up the other end. He probably leaves a couple of good length balls when I'm fending at them and shouldn't have to," Warner said. "It gives me another role to think about as well. You talk about respecting some good balls, and some of those good balls I can probably take on and would take on, but I have to start respecting my wicket a little bit more, and being a bit more consistent.

"You can hit endless amounts of balls and then, like the other day, come out and nick one. But you train for that and you've got to try and switch your mind to it. You can't go back to the change room and think 'this is crap, I prepared so well, how do I just nick one all of a sudden'? You can't let that get you down."

Australia are expected to name an unchanged squad for the second Test in Adelaide. The only variable is whether Shane Watson is added as a 13th member of the team pending his fitness.

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • stuart on November 17, 2012, 15:13 GMT

    David Warner.That master of concentration and test cricket. It would seem that the Aussie opener does not do irony

  • cric on November 17, 2012, 3:06 GMT

    @Vlies I noticed that sequence too. It is hilarious no doubt whether by design or accident. I don't think Warner is ready for Test Cricket against top teams. Watson should replace him in the second test and open with Ed Cowen to provide Australia with a steady start.

  • mahjut on November 16, 2012, 16:43 GMT

    @Kolpak1989 on (November 16 2012, 02:47 AM GMT) """You obviously haven' seen Morkel, Philander, Tahir, Kleinveldt etc in action if you think that South Africa is the best team in terms of fielding""" I do agree with the first three (and have not watched Kleinvelt field - but surely he won't keep his spot) and your assertion that SA are not what they were in the field but there was no need for the ""ETC""" - the rest are pretty good in their spots in the field. Duminy, Faf, Steyn Kallis Smith all do their jobs pretty well

  • mahjut on November 16, 2012, 16:40 GMT

    oops! has no-one taught him about PR ... you have to be someone to make such statements. There was littel need for SA bats to concentrate - when they had to, they did! first innings when there was a bit of cloud, they did what they had to (they will know they didn't make perfect decisions though) and the last innings was a sort of predictable shambles that was alwyas going to end pretty much exactly as it did ... by the middle of the 4th day i'd called this one (within a wicket - SA lost one more than i'd said they would). the best day or that whole series for a nuetral (or let's be more precise - for ME) was the second one...i actually got some sleep!

  • Randolph on November 16, 2012, 14:32 GMT

    Cringe worthy from Warner. Can you ever imagine Hussey doing this?

  • James on November 16, 2012, 12:37 GMT

    what a non-value comment. Hilarious:)

  • Vleis on November 16, 2012, 11:16 GMT

    Oh the irony. There are four headlines on cricinfo re the SA v Oz test series:

    1. "Warner's place in question"; 2. "Selectors ponder pairing Quiney with Cowan" 3. "Numbers game: Warner's diminishing returns"....followed by, 4. "Warner questions SA bats' focus".

    Now..if that is not hilarious, then nothing is!

  • Dummy4 on November 16, 2012, 6:47 GMT

    Warner needs to concentrate on his own batting rather than big talk

  • Mike on November 16, 2012, 6:13 GMT

    Pretty rich, this coming from the man who is a legend-in-the-Aussies-commentators-minds !! I'll lay a bet that before the beginning of next season Warner will be another Hughes...on the way out and only remembered for a good ODI or T20 knock ever 3/4 innings. Not as a Test cricketer, the ultimate test.

  • sam on November 16, 2012, 5:51 GMT

    Hey Warner,you might be talented and able to play stroke filled innings when you get going, but same can't be said about "cricket brain' or just 'sense' which is very uncommon but seems absolutely nil in your case.I like his attacking style and would like to see him succeed in tests at the top order-Such players do add some excitement to tests-Two test 100s is proof of his ability but also his lack of any sort of consistency make him a burden in an inexp top3 as the Aus.He seems distracted-shows in many of his immature,senseless comments bordering on a dangerous type of distracted arrogance.Aus team some great role models esp Hussey and the captain in humility and focus that young ,talented but distracted souls can learn and strive to emulate-they are 2 of heavyweights in the present Test game-no harm following lead.The last he should be doing is becoming an Aus K Pieterson and embarass his team.Least KP has 20+ 100s- something he shoud try to add to his 2 in tests n b'come good at.

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