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David Warner: 'Was there doubts? Yeah, of course'

After his MCG double-century the opener has his sights set on India and Ashes tours

Alex Malcolm
Alex Malcolm
David Warner defied cramp to reach a double century, Australia vs South Africa, 2nd Test, Melbourne, 2nd Day, December 27, 2022

David Warner defied cramps to reach a double-century  •  Getty Images and Cricket Australia

David Warner admitted he had some doubts about his ability to continue at Test level prior to his drought-breaking double-century against South Africa, but said he has not lost the hunger to play Test cricket and is as motivated as ever to try and win in India and England.
Warner was the big talking point coming into his 100th Test match at the MCG, but he silenced all doubt including that in his own mind, just as he said he would, scoring his first Test century in nearly three years and playing one of the finest innings of his career to claim the Johnny Mullagh medal as Player of the Match.
Warner had not reached 50 in his previous 10 Test innings coming into the match and he revealed some doubts had crept into his mind despite his public statement that he was simply out of runs and out of luck, not out of form.
"Was there doubts? Yeah, of course, there was doubts in my mind," Warner said after Australia's innings victory on day four. "But for me, it was about just going out there and knowing that I've still got that hunger and determination because every time I rock up the training I've got it. And people keep telling me you will know when it's time and I haven't really felt that at all yet. I'm still enjoying it.
"I still know what energy I can bring to the team. I think once I start losing that spark and energy around training and taking the mickey out of people playing some jokes here and there and pranks, I think that's when I probably know it's time."
Warner turned 36 in October and has previously stated that he was probably in the final 12 months of his Test career, but his double-hundred has reignited his desire to win Test series in India and England in 2023. Warner has never won a series in either country across five combined tours. He only averages 24.25 in India and 26.04 in England but has a burning desire to turn those records around next year.
"I wish you would stop telling me my age. I don't feel 36," Warner said. "I'm running faster than a lot of these youngsters in [the dressing room]. So when they catch up to me then I might think about pulling the pin.
"But I think the extra motivation for me is winning in India and completely winning a series in England. I've been told by the coach and the selectors that they'd like me to be there."
Warner on India challenge
Warner has already cast his mind forward to the four Tests in India given he has more experience in the country than any other player in the Australian squad through his three Test tours and playing for more than a decade in the IPL.
"We know we're going to prepare for, they're going to be turning wickets," Warner said. "Nagpur and Delhi are quite dry and Dharamsala at that time of the year, we played there [in 2017] and we probably should have won that Test. We lost it ourselves.
"There's going to be times where it's going to be challenging over there. But it's about how our batters can build and bat big like we did in Pakistan. I think that's going to be our greatest challenge. I think with the ball, we're going to probably do a fantastic job. We've got a world-class spinner in Nathan Lyon. We're going to have to obviously think about potentially playing two spinners.
"So for us as a batting group it's going to be a challenge but we're going to have to find a way and a method like we did in Pakistan to get through that and obviously in Sri Lanka we had good methods over there and we saw in that first Test in Galle, everyone was playing reverse sweeps and sweeps. Everyone had a method they stuck to it. I think moving to India, it's going to be probably a batter's battle I reckon."
Sydney pitch questions
Australia are considering playing two spinners in the final Test against South Africa in Sydney after Ashton Agar and Matt Renshaw were called into the squad to replace the injured pair of Cameron Green and Mitchell Starc. Warner doesn't know what to expect with the SCG pitch given it has been extremely dry and spin-friendly this summer so far.
"It's going to be an interesting one. I'm not too sure" Warner said. "It does look bare. Curators have had a challenge this year with the [T20] World Cup. I respect that. But it might be a chance for two spinners if the selectors want to go that way. Not sure how that wicket will play, if it's going to be up and down or if, we call it pancaking which is the big craters which could be the old SCG which will be cool. But it's going to be hard to prepare for that's for sure because the practice wickets are so good."

Alex Malcolm is an Associate Editor at ESPNcricinfo