Swann's departure 'a knockout blow' - Warner
David Warner knows all about teams losing people midway through a tour. His late-night shenanigans in a Birmingham pub this year got him sent to Africa before Australia's Ashes campaign had even begun, and led to the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur.
But six months after Australia's shambolic beginning to the tour of England, it is Alastair Cook's men who are in disarray, having given up the urn within three Tests, lost Graeme Swann to retirement, and lost Jonathan Trott due to a stress-related illness.
"In a way it's different, it's like a little bit of a knockout blow," Warner said of England losing Swann with two Tests remaining. "It is weird, with Trotty going home and now Swanny retiring, it is a bit different for us. We look at that and we don't know what to think, in a way. But credit to us, we're playing good cricket, we're 3-0 up leading into a Boxing Day Test."
But far from getting stuck into Swann, as might be expected of a man with Warner's record of public comment, he said it had been "a privilege to play against him". Not that Warner had too much trouble against Swann in this series, taking him for 140 runs from 205 deliveries. Australia's right-handers also enjoyed attacking Swann, and Warner might now have the chance to do so against the ball spinning into him, if Monty Panesar is picked.
"It's probably a little bit easier to play, if I can say, but we've still got to treat Monty Panesar with the respect we do Graeme Swann because they are both world-class bowlers," Warner said. "You saw Monty in India, basically he and Swanny won the series over there."
However, Warner said respect or not, he would play his natural aggressive style against Panesar, as he has against all the England bowlers in the first three Tests of this series. Warner has trusted his instincts during this Ashes campaign, returning to the style of cricket that initially gained him international selection and avoiding the over-thinking that had infiltrated his game and his preparation.
"That's probably the thing that's been high on my list now, is not thinking too far ahead," Warner said. "I'm thinking about today's training session instead of day one, Boxing Day, because that's what's ahead of me. We live in the present, not the future, that's all I've been working on.
"I think it had a lot to do with Michael Lloyd, our sports psych. I probably did get too far ahead of myself and was playing each innings in my mind probably 10 or 15 times. I've worked out a way to keep thinking about the now instead of what's going to happen in a couple of days' time."
Warner hopes that natural approach will help him switch back from Twenty20 mode into a Test mindset after the unusual scenario of having played a BBL match in the middle of a Test series. With the series already won, Cricket Australia released some of the players for the opening BBL round between the Perth and Melbourne Tests and Warner kept his eye in with 50 off 31 balls for the Sydney Thunder on Saturday night.
"It was bizarre when I was out there and I was commentating, I was just playing my natural strokes and nothing really came into my mind with slogging," Warner said. "In Twenty20 we do slog a fair bit, but it all just seemed so natural when I was out there. It is sometimes tough to adjust from Test to Twenty20s, now I've come back to play a Boxing Day Test it is going to be a little bit different if I see the first one up there but I'll still play the way I play."
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here