South Africa v Australia, 2nd Twenty20, Johannesburg October 15, 2011

Warner wants to bat longer and hit harder


David Warner, the Australia batsmen, is at his most ruthless when talking about himself. Although he does not think he has ever struck the ball as sweetly as he is doing at the moment, he still sees the potential to go harder after having realised the importance of taking time to build an innings, even in the shortest format.

Warner faced only one ball before being run-out in the first Twenty20 international on Thursday, but after back-to-back centuries in the Champions League T20, he looks in ominous form. "In India it was tough and I had to grind my way through to the middle overs and be there at the end," Warner said. "I feel like I'm hitting the ball really well but if I wanted to be harsher on myself, I could probably hit them better as well."

As one of the most dangerous T20 players, Warner has been stereotyped as a batting brute but he said there is some art that goes into constructing an innings in the shortest form of the game. "You've still got to get yourself in, I've only just realised that the last couple of months," Warner said. "When I've got myself in I could actually see, not how not easy it is, but how much you can get in the last five overs." Those are words that signify that Warner intends to bat longer and that can only mean the opposition must brace themselves for more sustained assaults.

Warner is not necessarily aiming at becoming the best T20 batsmen in the world, but he "just wants to be recognised as a person in the team who is going to win matches." In his debut against South Africa, at the MCG in 2009, he was that person. His 89 came off just 43 balls and announced that batting in fast-forward mode was the way he would play his game. Although he has not scaled that score on the international scene, he does have three domestic T20 centuries and has developed his game to include shots like the switch-hit.

"Normally just left-handed he is dangerous, but now with the switch-hit, it makes him a unique player and someone you must try to stay one step ahead of," Johan Botha said. Pioneered by Kevin Pietersen, the stroke can thread uncertainty through the opposition but playing it requires careful timing, according to Warner. "It's one of those things where if it's the right time of the game and obviously if we're not under pressure I can play it," Warner said. "I've to be smart as well and make sure it's not in a silly point of the game where it's going to hurt the team."

Warner's evolution as a T20 player has had some asking whether he has ambitions to play in other formats. He said that he would like to show his ability in the upcoming one-day series. "It's been two years since I played a one-day game for Australia and I've learnt a lot in that time, so hopefully I can be a bit more patient."

For some, changing to a longer version of the game would mean a different strategy in the nets but Warner's instincts remain the same. "I like trying to get bat on ball so that's what I try and do," he said. "I do a lot of throw downs in the nets and when I'm batting, it's one of those things where if you get out, you've got to be strict on yourself, and say if you get out more than once you should actually walk out of there and say that's a pretty disappointing net session."

Warner also has ambitions of making the leap up to Test cricket but understands that missing out first-class games at home could peg that aim back a little while. "The only way I'm going to get there is if I keep scoring runs," he said, adding that the ability to be more dependable and less flashy may have to find its way into his game. "I haven't been consistent enough, a lot of people have said that and I know that for a fact, and that's one thing now that I've shown the last couple of innings, that I'm being more consistent," he said. "I'm actually getting myself in and not throwing it away. I'll keep aspiring to be more consistent and hopefully one day I will get that Test cap."

Firdose Moonda is ESPNcricinfo's South Africa correspondent

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Andrew on October 17, 2011, 0:51 GMT

    The problem with comments like "Longer & Harder" (apart from snide), is that you have to back it up, an unfortunate run out + an 8 ball duck means he has undone a lot of the credibility he has recently been building. Warner mate, no interviews until you hit an international ton!!!!!!

  • Siddharth Sankar on October 16, 2011, 12:05 GMT

    He has improvised himself pretty well. I have witnessed his two back to back centuries and the temperament he showed, I guess he is a suitable candidate for Australian test team. He hardly showed any signs of recklessness and he was timing well. Mistimed shots are almost zero and he has been playing the switch shot really well. He is holding his nerve quite well and takes his time to read the pitch and the bowler. Once settled he can be regarded as much more futile than any one else. Good to see he is playing throughout the innings and has been evolved as a match winner. He is quite young and if groomed well, he can be a brilliant asset for the Australian team for all formats of the game.

  • Tim on October 16, 2011, 6:55 GMT

    I am going to go out on a limb and say I wouldn't mind this bloke in the Aussie test team. I have been quite impressed with him in the few first class games I have seen him in. He's dynamite.

  • Tim on October 16, 2011, 6:38 GMT

    Warner needs a lot more first class experience because as he says he's got a lot to learn. It seems he plays a lot of T20 cricket so has done well to develop that side of his game but to be a test cricketer you can't go around talking about hitting the ball well (that's a golfing term), its more about moving your feet, building your innings, watching the ball onto the bat, knowing when to leave etc. These skills can only be built in First Class cricket, so hopefully we see Warner on the field for NSW for most of the games this season. If not he can be a limited overs specialist and thats probably fine too.

  • Naveen on October 16, 2011, 6:28 GMT

    Warner thoroughly deserved a place in the ODI team. He was to be selected long back, anyways he has got a chance now and wish he could capitalize on that.. way to WARNER- All the Best :)

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 6:11 GMT

    Warner is gonna be a good test player

  • Dummy4 on October 16, 2011, 5:05 GMT

    david warner most dangorse player in world.i am impress the battin warner.i feel like it david warner.he plays all format in cricket .warner and imran nazir very dangpurs player in all player i am impress the two player naeem sahib


  • kieran on October 15, 2011, 21:56 GMT

    @ spence1324: I think really it was only Raina who went to England with an "IPL ego". The rest of the Indian batting lineup had vast test experience; Dravid, SRT, VVS, Dhoni, Gambhir. Except for Dravid they played without patience and were just undone by consistent attacking bowling as we saw in the Ashes. Warner to me doesn't appear to have the technical weakness to short bowling that Raina has and his recent 1st class results suggest he is on the right track. I would love to see him get more 1st class experience.

  • david on October 15, 2011, 18:08 GMT

    If Warner plays test cricket he will get found out,we saw that with alot of the indians in england fresh OFF the plane with big IPL ego's that got quickly put down by proper fast bowling which exposed basic technical weaknesses,look at the indian batman now in india they look good again when they can slog the ball to all parts,you cant do that in tests or you will get hurt(a few of them did),my advice to Warner dont chase the money but go back to first class cricket and learn the basics.

  • Dummy4 on October 15, 2011, 16:58 GMT

    He can certainly as he did in CLT20 league...

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