January 18, 2012

What we could learn from Warner

Far from being the downfall of Test match technique, T20 may actually help batsmen get into good habits for the long form
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On Sunday, I fly to Adelaide for the fourth Test between India and Australia. I'm due to arrive just in time for the first ball. I hope the plane isn't late: David Warner might have scored a hundred by lunch.

In smashing 180 off 159 balls in Perth, Warner proved quite a few people wrong - not least those who said that Twenty20 would never produce a Test cricketer. Warner, of course, played T20 for Australia and in the IPL long before making the step-up to Test cricket - well, I suppose it's up to him to judge whether it's a step up.

We've all heard the arguments against the Warner career path: that T20 ruins technique rather than developing it, that you have to learn to bat properly before you can learn to smash it, walk before you can run etc.

But the naysayers may be wrong. The Warner story reveals deep truths about how players bat at their best. In fact, I think it is time we reconsidered the whole question of what constitutes good technique.

Cricket gets itself in a tangle about the word. In football, technique is short-hand for skill. Pundits explain how Cesc Fabregas' brilliant technique allows him to make the killer pass or eye-catching volley. Technique is not the enemy of flair and self-expression: it is the necessary pre-requisite. "Technique is freedom," argued the ballet dancer Vaslav Nijinsky.

Sadly, the word "technique" in cricket is often used as short-hand for controlled batsmanship, even introspection. It is true that some great technicians are very controlled players (think of Rahul Dravid - though even he plays best technically when he is positive). But it is not compulsory that good technique has to be accompanied by caution or repression. After all, Adam Gilchrist had a wonderful technique: there is no other explanation for how he managed to hit the ball in the middle of the bat quite so consistently.

In fact, good technique has a very straightforward definition: it is the simplest, most efficient way of doing something.

Andre Agassi had near-perfect technique on his groundstrokes. He could hit with exceptional power and consistency. How did he learn this technique? When Agassi was a boy, his father used to get him to hit thousands of tennis balls as hard and as cleanly as possible. "Hit it, Andre!" That was the essence of his coaching. If you learn how to hit the ball hard in the middle of the racket, you have to move your body and feet into the right positions to do so. In the same way, Jack Nicklaus summed up his approach to learning golf: "First, hit it hard. Then we'll worry about getting it in the hole."

I should have remembered Agassi and Nicklaus when I was out of form as a batsman and needed to go back to basics. Not only did I suffer prolonged periods of bad form, I would often get out in similar ways - nicking off to the slips, or getting trapped lbw. There were usually plenty of theories about what I was doing wrong. As one coach memorably put it to me, "If you stop getting caught and lbw, you'll be a top player." Er, yes: it would take great ingenuity to get bowled or run out throughout your career!

Many coaches tried to persuade me to change my shot selection. But that rarely helped. When I was nicking off, it was usually because I was driving badly rather than driving at the wrong ball. And I was a far less good player when I was knocked off my instinct to play positively. I came to realise that good form was a very simple issue, almost binary - like a switch that just needed to be clicked back on.

Here comes the difficult part that used to get me into trouble. I learnt that the best way to click the switch back on, to get back into the groove of playing well, was to practise driving on the up. You've probably guessed why it got me in trouble. Imagine a situation in which I had failed three or four times in a row, each time caught in the slips, and the coach walks into the nets and sees me…practising drives! I'd sense him thinking: "Doesn't he ever learn?"

But I knew what worked for me, and I think there are good reasons why it worked. To play at my best, I needed to get into good positions to attack. Why? Because when I was in position to attack, I was inevitably in a good position also to defend. But when I set out my stall to play a defensive shot - before the ball was even bowled - then I not only attacked badly, I also defended badly. Having the intention of defending caused me to be passive and late in my movements. The shot would almost happen to me, rather than me determining the shot.

To play at my best, I needed to get into good positions to attack. Why? Because when I was in position to attack, I was inevitably in a good position also to defend

On the other hand, having the intention of attacking was a win-win: I defended and attacked better. I would set myself to play positively, which had the effect of giving me more time at every stage of the shot.

I think many players are the same. The key to their batting - whether it is defence or attack - is the question of intent. That has nothing to do with recklessness, or even scoring rate. Intent merely determines the messages you send to your brain. Imagine batting as a series of dominos that culminates in the ball being struck. The very first domino, the critical one that begins the whole process, is not physical, but mental. We might call it your "mental trigger movement".

I know it sounds ridiculously simplistic - technique from kindergarten - but many players find that the best mental trigger movement is setting themselves to move towards the ball to strike it back in the direction that it comes from. That does not mean you commit to lurching onto the front foot or playing a drive; you still react to whatever is thrown at you. But your intent is positive and pro-active.

Greg Chappell used the science of physiology to examine the connection between intent and good execution. He studied the preliminary movements of the world's greatest players. Though they all had unique styles and methods, their techniques shared one common thread: at the point of delivery, they were all pushing off the back foot, looking to come forward. Chappell argued that this trait gives great players optimal time to judge length. Why? Because a full ball is released from the bowler's hand early, a short ball is released later. So when batsmen set themselves for the full ball, they will inevitably have time to adjust for the short ball.

Here is my heretical conclusion: by encouraging them to have the intention of striking down the ground with a proper backlift and swing of the bat, T20 may help batsmen get into some good technical habits. Admittedly, T20 will not develop the refinements of sophisticated Test match batting, such as soft hands and the ability to concentrate for six or seven hours. But in terms of basic technique, there is a lot to be said for keeping cricket as simple as possible. The foundation is positive intent and a clear head. In short, we could all learn something from Warner.

The counter-argument is that Warner is a freak of nature, and that no one should try copying him just yet. Either way, I can't wait to watch him in Adelaide and judge for myself.

Former England, Kent and Middlesex batsman Ed Smith is a writer with the Times. His Twitter feed is here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • gordos06 on January 21, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    great article ed ,warner is the excitment machine but we all know that he will fail alot more than he succeeds , unfortunely thats cricket and i will be cheering him on no matter how he does . he became my favourite cricketer a few years ago when i seen him in the hong kong sixes and before that i,d never heard of him , let alone know he was from sydney , so all the world knows of him now and they have been warnerrred

  • Something_Witty on January 19, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    I think you'll find a lot of people got the Ashes series wrong last year landl. Just like a lot of poms seem to have gotten the current Pakistan-England series quite wrong. The fact is that the few times Warner has failed in his short career, he has been faced by some seriously good bowling on some very testing surfaces. Zaheer Khan has an outstanding record against left handers, and the late outswinger that got Warner in Sydney would've done for many more highly-credentialled lefties around the world. Warner is by no means a finished product, there is no batsmen in the history of the game who has a perfect technique. So the fact that Warner can *improve* as a test batsmen is actually a rather scary prospect for his opponents around the world. I don't think there's a batsman in the world who *isn't* vulnerable to a ball that nips around on a fullish length on off stump. But Warner has already proven himself very capable in defence. Expect to see many more runs from him in the future.

  • landl47 on January 19, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Ah, my old friend Something_Witty, who got the Ashes series so disastrously wrong last year, turns up, undeterred, to try and paint Warner as a calm and measured batsman who just happened to hit a relaxed hundred in 69 balls. Yes, I did watch Warner's innings at Sydney, the whole thing (all 6 balls), and I saw a guy who is so intent on aggression that when the ball called for defence he was in no position to play a defensive shot. Once you understand how the transition from defence to attack works, it becomes quite easy to spot when a player just doesn't know how to defend. That's why Warner has made 2 centuries and failed 5 times in his short test career, with a 37 (out of 46) his only score between 15 and 123. If he gets going, he's devastating, but then so was Afridi; he just didn't get going very often in tests. I hope Warner does well, because cricket needs entertainers like him, but test cricket soon finds out those who have fatal weaknesses in their technique. Ask Phil Hughes.

  • on January 19, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Very good article and I think we should focus on the thoughts here rather than the example, which some may argue is premature (but Smith is also a cricketer and is entitled to make his call earlier than the audience!). Simon Butler also makes a good point in the comments section which is consistent with the line of thought of the article. Perhaps, it is more important to understand the difference in goals for a batsman between T20 and Tests and adapt accordingly.

  • zenboomerang on January 19, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    @Ed Smith... A good read Ed & your self depreciating comments show a sense of humility not often found in todays writers... An interesting take on 20/20 but you could have gone back 60 years & looked at run rates, then compared ODI's starting in the 70's & then compared run rates in the 80/90's which have been increasing with more exciting Test cricket being the winner... 20/20 will do that again for Test cricket & let Test cricket survive longer than without 20/20's...

  • Something_Witty on January 19, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if people like landl47 even watch these matches they talk about. For example, he talks about how Warner doesn't know which ball to attack or defend, using his dismissal at Sydney in this series as an example. What he obviously doesn't realise is that Warner got out *defending* a ball in Sydney. Not attacking. Please landl, get your facts right before posting. Warner is basically an orthodox batsman these days. I think his innings in Hobart is more reflective of what he will do in test matches than his innings in Perth. He is a calm, measured batsman mostly, but occasionally, if the bowling is poor and the situation calls for it, he'll go into T20 mode as he did in Perth.

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    ...cont'd

    I strongly feel that most players who become great either have coaches who only step in to rectify when absolutely necessary (read rarely) and not frequently to justify their salaries. Even when they feel that they must step in their advice must be as simple as possible. From our childhood we are hardwired to respond to visual stimuli - we imitate our parents/other adults in picking up basic actions. Later in life we change certain things about them but not by working on specific angles etc.. Coming back to this talk about T20 destroying Test cricket - the only point that can be made is that perseverance is an attribute players are short on. Whether it is T20 or the way life is now is anybody's call...! I love watching good test cricket (causing great annoyance to the missus) and am still not totally convinced about T20 causing problems for Test cricket. We have been seeing mediocrity in cricket for some time now and T20 ain't the source..... my 2 cents worth

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Agree w/the point VAKBAR makes. I, too, have come across instances where players (who have been doing well) hv been "advised" to play in a certain way with feet pointing in 'x' direction and keeping elbow at 'y' angle. This is nothing short of silly as all these angels and directions have been arrived at by watching/studying the greats and surely those greats did not become the legends of the game because they worked out the angles. They worked out the shots and left the study of angles etc to those who wanted to find more reasons for the success of the greats.... In India BCCI has made an effort at grooming pacers through "MRF Pace Foundation" started by Dennis Lillee. Now take a look at the bowlers who are representing India. They have not yet produced the likes of Waseem Akram/Younus/Kapil Dev to name a few. .....cont'd (sorry but could not resist posting)

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    dont understand y so much big fuss on Warner,he played just 5tests and dont forget apart from that 180 he flopped in the first 4innings of the current ind-aus series against an indian attack which is at best an average attack,he did well against NZ but again that attack was no SA or English attack..let him play few more matches to judge him bcoz in past we also saw Agarkar scoring a century in Lords,let him prove and that jump to ur bandwagon,who says only subcontinent hypes their player,this article is a clear example of doing that as well.....

  • TrevorHickman on January 19, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    Nice article Ed. Warner does look excellent and definitely an exciting player to watch, but I'm really looking forward to the next Ashes series by which time Warner will be more of an established part of the Australian set up.

    I remember Phil Hughes was going to be the next Don Bradman but his failings were very quickly identified by almost every bowling attack in the world, similarly Marcus North. I also seem to remember that Phil Jacques was going to be the scourge of the English as well which never happened either.

    Let's see if Warner is still around in a couple of years then we can really judge him.

  • gordos06 on January 21, 2012, 3:05 GMT

    great article ed ,warner is the excitment machine but we all know that he will fail alot more than he succeeds , unfortunely thats cricket and i will be cheering him on no matter how he does . he became my favourite cricketer a few years ago when i seen him in the hong kong sixes and before that i,d never heard of him , let alone know he was from sydney , so all the world knows of him now and they have been warnerrred

  • Something_Witty on January 19, 2012, 15:09 GMT

    I think you'll find a lot of people got the Ashes series wrong last year landl. Just like a lot of poms seem to have gotten the current Pakistan-England series quite wrong. The fact is that the few times Warner has failed in his short career, he has been faced by some seriously good bowling on some very testing surfaces. Zaheer Khan has an outstanding record against left handers, and the late outswinger that got Warner in Sydney would've done for many more highly-credentialled lefties around the world. Warner is by no means a finished product, there is no batsmen in the history of the game who has a perfect technique. So the fact that Warner can *improve* as a test batsmen is actually a rather scary prospect for his opponents around the world. I don't think there's a batsman in the world who *isn't* vulnerable to a ball that nips around on a fullish length on off stump. But Warner has already proven himself very capable in defence. Expect to see many more runs from him in the future.

  • landl47 on January 19, 2012, 7:24 GMT

    Ah, my old friend Something_Witty, who got the Ashes series so disastrously wrong last year, turns up, undeterred, to try and paint Warner as a calm and measured batsman who just happened to hit a relaxed hundred in 69 balls. Yes, I did watch Warner's innings at Sydney, the whole thing (all 6 balls), and I saw a guy who is so intent on aggression that when the ball called for defence he was in no position to play a defensive shot. Once you understand how the transition from defence to attack works, it becomes quite easy to spot when a player just doesn't know how to defend. That's why Warner has made 2 centuries and failed 5 times in his short test career, with a 37 (out of 46) his only score between 15 and 123. If he gets going, he's devastating, but then so was Afridi; he just didn't get going very often in tests. I hope Warner does well, because cricket needs entertainers like him, but test cricket soon finds out those who have fatal weaknesses in their technique. Ask Phil Hughes.

  • on January 19, 2012, 5:54 GMT

    Very good article and I think we should focus on the thoughts here rather than the example, which some may argue is premature (but Smith is also a cricketer and is entitled to make his call earlier than the audience!). Simon Butler also makes a good point in the comments section which is consistent with the line of thought of the article. Perhaps, it is more important to understand the difference in goals for a batsman between T20 and Tests and adapt accordingly.

  • zenboomerang on January 19, 2012, 4:42 GMT

    @Ed Smith... A good read Ed & your self depreciating comments show a sense of humility not often found in todays writers... An interesting take on 20/20 but you could have gone back 60 years & looked at run rates, then compared ODI's starting in the 70's & then compared run rates in the 80/90's which have been increasing with more exciting Test cricket being the winner... 20/20 will do that again for Test cricket & let Test cricket survive longer than without 20/20's...

  • Something_Witty on January 19, 2012, 3:28 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if people like landl47 even watch these matches they talk about. For example, he talks about how Warner doesn't know which ball to attack or defend, using his dismissal at Sydney in this series as an example. What he obviously doesn't realise is that Warner got out *defending* a ball in Sydney. Not attacking. Please landl, get your facts right before posting. Warner is basically an orthodox batsman these days. I think his innings in Hobart is more reflective of what he will do in test matches than his innings in Perth. He is a calm, measured batsman mostly, but occasionally, if the bowling is poor and the situation calls for it, he'll go into T20 mode as he did in Perth.

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:15 GMT

    ...cont'd

    I strongly feel that most players who become great either have coaches who only step in to rectify when absolutely necessary (read rarely) and not frequently to justify their salaries. Even when they feel that they must step in their advice must be as simple as possible. From our childhood we are hardwired to respond to visual stimuli - we imitate our parents/other adults in picking up basic actions. Later in life we change certain things about them but not by working on specific angles etc.. Coming back to this talk about T20 destroying Test cricket - the only point that can be made is that perseverance is an attribute players are short on. Whether it is T20 or the way life is now is anybody's call...! I love watching good test cricket (causing great annoyance to the missus) and am still not totally convinced about T20 causing problems for Test cricket. We have been seeing mediocrity in cricket for some time now and T20 ain't the source..... my 2 cents worth

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:12 GMT

    Agree w/the point VAKBAR makes. I, too, have come across instances where players (who have been doing well) hv been "advised" to play in a certain way with feet pointing in 'x' direction and keeping elbow at 'y' angle. This is nothing short of silly as all these angels and directions have been arrived at by watching/studying the greats and surely those greats did not become the legends of the game because they worked out the angles. They worked out the shots and left the study of angles etc to those who wanted to find more reasons for the success of the greats.... In India BCCI has made an effort at grooming pacers through "MRF Pace Foundation" started by Dennis Lillee. Now take a look at the bowlers who are representing India. They have not yet produced the likes of Waseem Akram/Younus/Kapil Dev to name a few. .....cont'd (sorry but could not resist posting)

  • on January 19, 2012, 3:03 GMT

    dont understand y so much big fuss on Warner,he played just 5tests and dont forget apart from that 180 he flopped in the first 4innings of the current ind-aus series against an indian attack which is at best an average attack,he did well against NZ but again that attack was no SA or English attack..let him play few more matches to judge him bcoz in past we also saw Agarkar scoring a century in Lords,let him prove and that jump to ur bandwagon,who says only subcontinent hypes their player,this article is a clear example of doing that as well.....

  • TrevorHickman on January 19, 2012, 1:47 GMT

    Nice article Ed. Warner does look excellent and definitely an exciting player to watch, but I'm really looking forward to the next Ashes series by which time Warner will be more of an established part of the Australian set up.

    I remember Phil Hughes was going to be the next Don Bradman but his failings were very quickly identified by almost every bowling attack in the world, similarly Marcus North. I also seem to remember that Phil Jacques was going to be the scourge of the English as well which never happened either.

    Let's see if Warner is still around in a couple of years then we can really judge him.

  • on January 19, 2012, 0:53 GMT

    Ed Smith make a number of valid points, while I don't disagree with the assessment about positive intent helping both attack and defence. As grade cricket myself for many years Iv learnt that myself. One important factor to bear in ming about Warner though is that he set about turning himself into a test player as well. He didn't simply play T20 cricket and expect to thrive in longer forms, he consciously set about training his concentration and patience. Which has had the added benefit of not only helping him to become a test cricket but has made him an even better T20 and ODI player as well. Knowing that not ever ball needs to be hit for six means that he is no longer hitting it in the air as often.

  • hes_a_victorian on January 19, 2012, 0:30 GMT

    Majr, I agree with other comments, New Zealand bowled extremely well on a very seamer friendly wicket in Hobart, the feature of that innings was Warner's judgement of when to defend and attack, which noone else really mastered in that match. His footwork was so positive in that innings, and he never allowed the bowlers to dictate to him, constantly finding ways to push for singles and twos into the gaps in front of the wicket. He's extremely strong as well, which helps Sehwag and Warner are not like for like comparisons. Warner plays a far more compact style of game and comes at the ball and thumps it. Sehwag's power comes more from a late wristiness. Great when there's not a lot of pace in the track and edges won't carry, but can come unstuck as he has done in Australia. Phil Hughes could learn a lot from the areas in which Warner scores, particularly early. Langer was a player who also learnt to score more in front of the wicket and look how it changed his career.

  • on January 18, 2012, 23:46 GMT

    I would wait to judge Warner until after he has played the bowling of England or South Africa, the fact that he has destroyed this toothless Indian 'attack' doesn't tell us much. Wait until he has played against bowlers of above medium pace and with some semblance of accuracy.

  • jackiethepen on January 18, 2012, 22:26 GMT

    A bit early to say about Warner. Hughes was much lauded after his start in Test cricket. But Hughes was torn apart by England bowlers. His technique is terrible by the way. It was very easy to predict that he would be unable to survive in Test cricket. Also to say that technique is associated with control and reserve begs the question. Is it? Gower in his time and Bell today prove the opposite. Both are free flowing batsmen. Warner may well develop into a solid opening batsman who can get runs quickly or he may just struggle against the likes of Steyn and Anderson.

  • on January 18, 2012, 22:21 GMT

    it was A great innings by Warner, the ONLY good inning we have seen so far. seems like we just over killing it a bit with celebrations and comparisons. he has lot to prove , specially out side Aus.

  • DingDong420 on January 18, 2012, 21:40 GMT

    He hasn't done anything yet, give him a couple of years then we'll see. He does look good but let his bat talk for a couple of years

  • Jerseyite on January 18, 2012, 21:12 GMT

    The jury is not out on David Warner. He has only played 5 test matches. Let him face England in Birmingham with Anderson, Tremlett, Bresnan and Broad, not to mention Swann. We will have a discussion then. Having said all that, I like what I see so far.

  • on January 18, 2012, 20:15 GMT

    @Majr you won't see better quality bowling than was on display at the Hobart test where Warner scored his maiden ton. Australia were destroyed by the kiwis but Warner almost got them home.

  • bluethroat on January 18, 2012, 17:24 GMT

    Warner was able to play as he was only becuase of complete lack of descipline from Indian bowlers. You can mark my words, he would be one-off wonder boy and thats it.

  • Raj_Crk_Analyst on January 18, 2012, 16:04 GMT

    Warner a australian version of virender sehwag :-)

  • Hermandw on January 18, 2012, 15:43 GMT

    How I wish Cricinfo has a Like or +1 button as you get on Facebook and Google+. This article would definitely get a +1 Like from me. I agree 100%.

  • Percy_Fender on January 18, 2012, 15:03 GMT

    I can understand how much everyone in Australia is chuffed up with the discovery of Warner the Test batsman. He has been compared with Adam Gilchrist amongst others. Frankly he is as different in class from Adam as a water buffalo is from a throughbred racehorse. And now that he has scored two 100s, against New Zealand and India, both with not the best bowling, he is also talking like a true blue Ozzie.God help him when he takes on some quality bowling.He wil go out unsung.

  • on January 18, 2012, 13:33 GMT

    Attractive Test match needs aggressive fearless cricket and thats what will bring crowds to watch it. We need more warners to be given a chance.

  • sachin54 on January 18, 2012, 13:22 GMT

    Are you serious? This article is full of generalizations and every other logical fallacy. Warner can play those shots because he comes at the top of the order where he doesn't have to worry about a batting collapse or stabilizing the innings. The major point the author has missed here is that the difference between Tests and T20 starts in the mindset and is reflected in the technique. I dont have to play a couple of test matches for my country to know that.

  • Vakbar on January 18, 2012, 12:42 GMT

    This is an extremely good article and reflects something I've though about for a while _ the over-coaching of players at a young age. A good example is my 6 year old. Ive been tossing him balls for a year or so, and other than teaching him to maintain a good stance and hold the bat properly, all I every say is "watch and wait" for the ball - and then hit it. Which he does extremely well

    Recently, however, he has enrolled into a highly rated coaching course (with guys I know) and I was watching them teach the pull-shot - a shot my boy had hitherto played completely naturally. All of a sudden he was being told to get back and across, put his shoulder in this position, make sure the bat swung in that manner etc. etc. and he was so confused he could barely lift the bat up properly, let alone hit the ball! What he should havebeen told instead is to hit the ball in a certain area and I guarantee it would have happended more naturally.

  • landl47 on January 18, 2012, 11:09 GMT

    Although there's a lot of truth in this article, it only goes halfway. First, the intent, if success is to be had at test level, must be to attack with a proper cricket shot. Therefore the bat must, to a straight ball, be coming down straight. Attempting to slog/sweep or to hit on the offside with a horizontal bat by moving to leg might work in T20, where 30-35 is a good score, but not in tests. Second, although the intent can be to attack, there must be the willingness to temper enthusiasm with caution once it becomes obvious that the ball is not there to hit. In T20 batsmen go through with the shot, knowing that there are few, if any, close fielders, so an edge will often fly harmlessly away. Warner has learned the first, but not the second (hence the 8 and out in the first over at Sydney). He's an exciting player to watch, but whether he will make a good test player or just another Shahid Afridi is yet to be determined.

  • moBlue on January 18, 2012, 10:46 GMT

    i agree. sehwag has come out of many a test slump simply by showing aggressive intent! there is no visible change in his technique, it is just that he defends better when he attacks from the word go, and he fails spectacularly - at attack or defense - when he has a defensive mind-set right at the outset!

  • jonesy2 on January 18, 2012, 10:38 GMT

    twenty20 has nothing to do with it. the fact is david warner is just a freakishly talented cricketer who is capable of things that only very few in human existence have been capable of.

  • HatsforBats on January 18, 2012, 10:21 GMT

    Warner in Adelaide could send the Indian bowlers quivering into the foetal position. Then again he could chop on for a duck. His strength in playing like he does is that he is relatively orthodox when he does so; apart from the rolling of his wrists when driving (very Katich-like). Oh, and he knows that he has to move his feet, something Viru could've learned, mind you now Sehwag will probably hit a double on the most docile pitch in the country.

  • seand64 on January 18, 2012, 10:13 GMT

    I remember years ago a guy called Viv. He was exhilarating to watch, you knew when he walked in, bat windmilling, that he was going to do something special. It was Viv, it WAS special. He didn't bowl like Botham and he didn't keep like Gilchrist. Viv was a batsman. That's what i see in Warner now. Sure he's already made his mark as a fielder, but so did Botham and Richards. Warner has a chance to be a batsman for a generation but he needs to control the blood rush. Either that or he needs to hit the ball as hard as Viv, Botham or Gilchrist and make sure it stays hit.

  • 2929paul on January 18, 2012, 10:12 GMT

    Warner has a simple, uncomplicated technique. No trigger movements, no fidgeting around. Just stand there, lift up the bat and move toward the ball with positive intent. Then hit it. Keep it simple and cricket becomes an easy game for youngsters to learn.

  • on January 18, 2012, 9:52 GMT

    Good piece.

    The front press or trigger can become an impediment too, unless reflexes to adjust to length are nimble. Warner has positive intent, a clean technique for hitting the ball, but clearly has the gift of early sight and judgement of length. T20 has certainly honed it for him.

    Caution - may not work for less gifted batsmen.

  • on January 18, 2012, 9:26 GMT

    i dont think this warner will last 20 tests ...

  • sharidas on January 18, 2012, 9:23 GMT

    Warner certainly is an exciting batsmen and I am sure he will go a long way. At the same time, there will be bowlers, who will be looking for his weak areas too and in time it will become interesting to watch the contest.

  • Chris_Howard on January 18, 2012, 9:21 GMT

    Well said, Ed. I tell my kids all the time to go at the ball 100%. As soon as they back off, they wafting, pushing and nicking. And you see it all the time in cricket - players getting out with half-hearted pushes and wafts as they think about defending.

  • SirWilliam on January 18, 2012, 9:04 GMT

    Yes, the short ball is released later but, given the same arm speed, it is also released from nearer to the batsman, so there is no extra time to adjust.

  • on January 18, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    This is, quite simply, the best bit of batting analysis I have ever read. The applications of this type of mind-set even beyond cricket are virtually endless. Thank you, sir.

  • IPL_FUNDA on January 18, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    With one match how can you decide warners ability, he has a long way to go. It is Sehwag or Gayle who can play T20 in tests. We will have to wait for Warners performance when he faces the real challenge.

  • TheArmChairCritic on January 18, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Stupid article.. One swallow does not make a summer. A 180 against India's bowling attack is not the best measure of how good a batsmen you are. Coming to T20 influence, the only good it will do to test cricket is avoid dull draws. Of course the pitches do matter, but judging Warner within a short period of time is incorrect. Agreed, it was a good innings at Perth, but one cannot bat like that against a good attack on a sporting wicket. This is exactly what is happening to Sehwag now.

  • 68704 on January 18, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    I was very surprised to see all the criticism for the selection of Warner into the test side in Australia - he is t20 specialist, not played enough sheffield shield cricket, his technique is suspect,... Wonder if anyone can have a looser technique than Hughes. People in India have watched a lot of Warner. He is a natural- like Gilchrist and Sehawag. Like those two he can change the course of a game in an hour. I think his technique is pretty solid. He has got tremendous hand, eye co-ordination like the other two mentioned in this comment. Now while everyone is celebrating his success, I feel like saying Ï told you so". He has already played two fantastiic innings while just about everyone has failed. Bowlers may work him out. But he will give tremendous starts and be an impact player. Persist with him Inverarity, he is great to watch. sridhar

  • bobagorof on January 18, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Far be it from me to disagree with a Test cricketer's opinion of what is good technique, but I do believe you've missed the point, Ed. Technique is the execution of the shot, not the intent behind it. I may have positive intent to smash the cover off the ball, but hacking wildly rarely works (which is why bowlers bat down the order). The intent may indeed assist your technique by getting you into better position, and therefore may be the solution for a slump in form, but a good technique stems from technical aspects of batting (hence the term) that will increase chances of success. Driving a ball away from the body can have great results when the batsman is successful, but it is still poor technique as there is a high chance of getting bowled through the gate if the batsman makes a slight error. Getting your foot to the pitch of the ball, and your head over the line of the ball, are also good technique as this increases the chance of success. Neither are governed by intent.

  • redneck on January 18, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    you picked a good venue to watch warner, his form for NSW here(adelaide) is brillient in all formats. interesting your thoughts on technique. i always considered players like warner, sehwag & gilchrist to have incredable hand-eye co ordination which gives them that ability or edge over opposition. anyways enjoy your stay in sunny old adelaide

  • on January 18, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Amazing insight about batting.. I am your number one fan..

  • karthik05 on January 18, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Hi guys... wait how long Warner will be able to do this....there are umpteen number of examples being one season wonders...

  • on January 18, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    A really convoluted article to say the least. Does it cross the writer's mind that David Warner is just a good batsman who just happened to get his big break in T-20? Had T-20 not come along he might have taken much more time to break into grade cricket because of the limited number of state teams there are in Australia. He is an attacking batsman with good footwork and has the ability to play both spin and pace - something not all successful t-20 players can claim. The problem is nobody seems to remember his 100 in hobart which was compiled rather meticulously and seems to focus on his hundred in perth as if it were the only one he has scored. Let's watch him over another 25 tests before making such motherhood statements

  • TFJ100 on January 18, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    This seems like a really well thought-out article. Well done Ed, makes us less sad about not having Peter Roebuck around to write quality commentary

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  • TFJ100 on January 18, 2012, 3:34 GMT

    This seems like a really well thought-out article. Well done Ed, makes us less sad about not having Peter Roebuck around to write quality commentary

  • on January 18, 2012, 4:45 GMT

    A really convoluted article to say the least. Does it cross the writer's mind that David Warner is just a good batsman who just happened to get his big break in T-20? Had T-20 not come along he might have taken much more time to break into grade cricket because of the limited number of state teams there are in Australia. He is an attacking batsman with good footwork and has the ability to play both spin and pace - something not all successful t-20 players can claim. The problem is nobody seems to remember his 100 in hobart which was compiled rather meticulously and seems to focus on his hundred in perth as if it were the only one he has scored. Let's watch him over another 25 tests before making such motherhood statements

  • karthik05 on January 18, 2012, 5:05 GMT

    Hi guys... wait how long Warner will be able to do this....there are umpteen number of examples being one season wonders...

  • on January 18, 2012, 5:46 GMT

    Amazing insight about batting.. I am your number one fan..

  • redneck on January 18, 2012, 6:06 GMT

    you picked a good venue to watch warner, his form for NSW here(adelaide) is brillient in all formats. interesting your thoughts on technique. i always considered players like warner, sehwag & gilchrist to have incredable hand-eye co ordination which gives them that ability or edge over opposition. anyways enjoy your stay in sunny old adelaide

  • bobagorof on January 18, 2012, 6:10 GMT

    Far be it from me to disagree with a Test cricketer's opinion of what is good technique, but I do believe you've missed the point, Ed. Technique is the execution of the shot, not the intent behind it. I may have positive intent to smash the cover off the ball, but hacking wildly rarely works (which is why bowlers bat down the order). The intent may indeed assist your technique by getting you into better position, and therefore may be the solution for a slump in form, but a good technique stems from technical aspects of batting (hence the term) that will increase chances of success. Driving a ball away from the body can have great results when the batsman is successful, but it is still poor technique as there is a high chance of getting bowled through the gate if the batsman makes a slight error. Getting your foot to the pitch of the ball, and your head over the line of the ball, are also good technique as this increases the chance of success. Neither are governed by intent.

  • 68704 on January 18, 2012, 6:16 GMT

    I was very surprised to see all the criticism for the selection of Warner into the test side in Australia - he is t20 specialist, not played enough sheffield shield cricket, his technique is suspect,... Wonder if anyone can have a looser technique than Hughes. People in India have watched a lot of Warner. He is a natural- like Gilchrist and Sehawag. Like those two he can change the course of a game in an hour. I think his technique is pretty solid. He has got tremendous hand, eye co-ordination like the other two mentioned in this comment. Now while everyone is celebrating his success, I feel like saying Ï told you so". He has already played two fantastiic innings while just about everyone has failed. Bowlers may work him out. But he will give tremendous starts and be an impact player. Persist with him Inverarity, he is great to watch. sridhar

  • TheArmChairCritic on January 18, 2012, 6:33 GMT

    Stupid article.. One swallow does not make a summer. A 180 against India's bowling attack is not the best measure of how good a batsmen you are. Coming to T20 influence, the only good it will do to test cricket is avoid dull draws. Of course the pitches do matter, but judging Warner within a short period of time is incorrect. Agreed, it was a good innings at Perth, but one cannot bat like that against a good attack on a sporting wicket. This is exactly what is happening to Sehwag now.

  • IPL_FUNDA on January 18, 2012, 7:19 GMT

    With one match how can you decide warners ability, he has a long way to go. It is Sehwag or Gayle who can play T20 in tests. We will have to wait for Warners performance when he faces the real challenge.

  • on January 18, 2012, 8:27 GMT

    This is, quite simply, the best bit of batting analysis I have ever read. The applications of this type of mind-set even beyond cricket are virtually endless. Thank you, sir.