Sehwag pushed Warner to improve four-day game
David Warner, the Australia batsman who has developed a reputation as a Twenty20 specialist, has said he has the patience to be successful in the longest format of the game. Warner has found a place in the Australia A squad for their four-day matches in Zimbabwe, following three good games in the Sheffield Shield for New South Wales at the end of last season. He said it was Virender Sehwag, his captain at Delhi Daredevils in the IPL, who told him he could be a better four-day player.
"He [Sehwag] told me two years ago he saw me as a better four-day player than Twenty20 player,'' Warner told the Sydney Morning Herald. ''He said, 'If you play with your freedom, and your shot selection is correct and your decision-making's good, you're always going to score runs in that form of the game if conditions favour you.'''
Before the 2010-11 season, despite having played for Australia in Twenty20s and one-day internationals, Warner had played only four first-class games and had a highest score of 48. Against Victoria, at the beginning of this year he just missed out on a hundred, scoring 99, but then got the maiden first-class century in his next match, against Western Australia. Warner said he was happy to be recognised for that with the call-up to the Australia A four-day squad.
''I'm happy to be acknowledged for the last couple of games I played in the Shield season. It's recognition for myself that they're actually looking at me as a Test player. I can last the distance, and mentally I can be patient enough to tackle that format of the game. It's good I scored runs and showed some people. Everyone is about stats and numbers, and if you don't prove it you're never going to be that. It's good I can face 80 balls for 60 or 70 and not just try and score 100 off 50 balls.''
His captain at New South Wales, Stuart Clark, said Warner could change the perception people have of him as a short-format specialist by scoring plenty of runs in four-day cricket.
"He's got a reputation of being a Twenty20 player only because he's so good at the game,'' Clark said. ''David, whatever he chooses to do, needs to find a way to break that perception, that's his biggest challenge. If he gets runs, people are unfortunately going to keep remembering him as a Twenty20 player.
''Perception is reality with David. If he does things to benefit his four-day cricket, he can change that perception very quickly. There's no doubt that he can play the game.''
One thing working in favour of Warner's aspirations to play Test cricket for Australia is the fact that national selector Greg Chappell also believes he can improve his four-day cricket. Chappell had told Warner last December that if he adapted his game to four-day cricket it would help his form in the shorter formats too.