David Warner feels his style of captaincy is an extension of Steven Smith's ethos, as Australia look to his leadership to reverse their trend of losses in India. Standing in for Smith, who injured his shoulder during the final ODI in Nagpur, Warner captained Australia in their nine-wicket defeat in the rain-affected first T20I in Ranchi. He stressed that the team was trying its best to win every game.
"From my point of view, it's about following on from what Steve's values are and the standards of the team and what we do to respect him," Warner said ahead of the second T20I in Guwahati. "I try to follow down the same key messages to the guys so we're preparing as best as we can to go out on the field. We're doing our best and that's all I can do to the best of my ability. It's up to the player to follow directions."
Despite Australia's loss, Warner's leadership came in for praise from different quarters. Opener Aaron Finch thought Warner's experience of playing and leading in India was put to good use. "It can be quite refreshing when another skipper comes in who doesn't have to worry about the off-field stuff quite as much as the regular skipper does," Finch said. "Davey did a fantastic job under the circumstances. Dave's obviously played a lot and captained a lot over here in the IPL. He knows the opposition very well, he's very calm under pressure the majority of the time. He's a fantastic leader. He's the vice-captain of the country for a reason."
Former India batsman VVS Laxman, who mentors the IPL franchise Sunrisers Hyderabad - which Warner captains in the IPL - felt the opener was a more aggressive leader than Smith. On the subject of captaincy, Warner said it was "great fun" but came with its share of responsibilities.
"From where I stand, it's my mind, Steve's mind, different players' minds, we've all got minds of our own," he said. "When you're out there and you're not captain, you don't have the pressure on yourself to keep thinking all the time. I can just sit back and say I'd have done this, I'd have done that but the difference is you're not captain. The ideas everyone brings to the table, you say that to the captain and bring in some ideas and that's what we do to help each other out because it's a tough job when you're out there.
"I think if you ask each individual, you have a sense of responsibility no matter what. It's not just me but everyone, who puts that captain's cap on. You've got a responsibility, you've got to lead your troops. It's great fun, we enjoy it, but I enjoy going out there and winning games for my country and whichever team I'm in front of. And if I'm leading, I'm doing it to the best of my ability, even more than you normally would just to get the guys in the right direction as a leader."
And despite the team's frequent middle-order collapses, Warner said he couldn't afford to worry about them. "I don't look too much into because if you get out early, then there's a collapse in the middle after a partnership," Warner said. "Everyone becomes frustrated with why it happens. No one means to get out.
"There are always reasons about why it [collapse] happens. People talk about pressure, people talk about having two batsmen in and two batsmen get out. We have to play like the way we know and that's the brand of cricket we bring to the table. You can't worry about a collapse going to happen. No one is worried about that at all. We have to keep backing ourselves 100%. We know that when we do well we do very, very well."