The Ashes 2013-14 December 24, 2013

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Prasanna on December 25, 2013, 9:44 GMT

    this is why the WI and Aus teams of the 80s, 90s and Noughties are the best !! They managed it for a longer period of time. And only the current SA team comes close to being at the top for a longer time !! The also-rans are not seen anywhere to close these ones , inspite of the hype from their respective media !!

  • Danish on December 25, 2013, 8:29 GMT

    @looloogun: this isn't a game where you can just play all newbies and give them such a burden as the Ashes. I don't even think making Bairstow play instead of Prior is a good move.

  • brai on December 25, 2013, 6:26 GMT

    xi should be

    1.ballance 2. pietersen 3.cook 4.carberry 5.bell 6.bairstow

    7. stokes 8.broad/finn 9.bresnan/finn

    10.panesar 11. dockrell /tredwell

  • glenn on December 25, 2013, 6:00 GMT

    jb633 - mate I've been crowing loud and long about the aussies but I really don't think its all doom and gloom for you guys. Whilst you have been smashed it was the little lapses that really cost you. If you had got Mitch Jonson out early in Brisbane or held Haddin in Adelaide it would have been closer.

    I would expect Cook and Bell to play a blinder each before the series is over and put pressure back on us. Your biggest issue is getting Broad out on the paddock in the short term and get Tremlett or Finn bowling better.

    Never lose sight that the aussies lost 7 of 9 leading up to this series but never let it get them down. A couple of players turning their form around is all it took.

    And some friendlier English style weather and wicket in Melbourne should help you too.

  • Graeme on December 25, 2013, 5:57 GMT

    RJHB - top comments. Don't think Trott will feature again though.

  • Sarang on December 25, 2013, 5:33 GMT

    I am not sure why Warner calls his hitting in T20s as slogging? What he hits in T20s, for me, are proper cricket shots with little bit more of risk. Players like him, Sehwag, Gilly are attacking batsmen and they can do well in any format as they have shown. There have been many great attacking batsmen in the past who scored at very fast pace like Viv Richards, Greenidge etc who were not considered sloggers. Was that because there was no T20 then? I remember Manjrekar saying at the very beginning of Tendulkar's career that "Tendulkar is technically correct even if he plays lot of shots and I don't. Its only that I have a defensive mindset and he has an attacking one." I guess that explained how to categorise a batsman.

  • rob on December 25, 2013, 5:02 GMT

    @ cloudmess: "There is no other explanation for how England were so good in 2010-11 (with pretty much the same personnel) and so bad now." .. Well, actually there is one thing you may not have considered. There is a possibility that Australia have improved, a lot. .. The Aussie bowling is much better this time around. Much, much, much better. In fact, there may not be enough "much" 's in the universe to describe just how much better the bowling is in this series. .. also, the Aussie batting is much better as well. Much, much better but not as improved as the bowling. Not quite that much.

    Anyway, just thought I'd mention it.

  • Rajdeep on December 25, 2013, 4:25 GMT

    This Ashes series has been a big disappointment. I feel that there is hardly any huge gap between the two teams stems loss of competition and excitement.

  • david on December 25, 2013, 4:16 GMT

    Time to blood Gary Ballance. I wouldn't be playing Broad or Anderson. Anderson needs a rest, Broad is injured. I would go for broke! My team:

    1 Cook (capt), 2 Carberry (I prefer Nick Compton) 3 Joe Root, 4 Kevin Pietersen, 5 Ian Bell, 6 Gary Ballance 7. Jonny Bairstow (wk) 8. Ben Stokes 9 Tim Bresnan 10 Steve Finn, 11 Monty Panesar.

    Up for discussion is Tim Bresnan's position, and whether Broad or Anderson are options, but really I would choose 1 of Broad, Bresnan and Anderson. Why? Because this team has not made 400 for over 10 tests. And all bowlers have been a failure except for Broad, who is injured.

  • Rohanj on December 25, 2013, 1:34 GMT

    Jb633 I wouldn't get too despondent. Yes we are flogging you but you did have it coming you know! But gee while you've still got batsmen like Cook, Bell and yes Pietersen, and bowlers like Broad and probably Andersen for a little while longer, you won't slip too far. Trott will be back and you've gotta be happy with both Root and Stokes, they look good. When you look at young players you look for something more than just talent in test cricket, you want character, tenacity, X factor. Root looks like a fighter, absolutely a future opener, Atherton Mark2. And Stokes, in a different way he reminds me of India's Kohli. Obviously huge talent, but more than that he has a bit of mongrel, a bit of fight. England badly need Finn to come online.

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