It’s difficult to comprehend the thought process of some people, such are the obvious contradictions in the way they present themselves and the way they behave. One such person is Dave Warner; an attack dog of a player who has tried to convince the world, and himself, that he’s matured from the gobby urchin that first appeared on the international scene.
Warner has been through a lot as a player. He is now Australia’s vice-captain and has recently shown signs that he can adapt his game, scoring vital runs in Australia’s drawn series in Bangladesh. There are two quotes that spring to mind about him, though, that betray his personality:
“As soon as you step on that line it’s war,” he said to ABC Grandstand in Australia about the forthcoming Ashes series. “You try and get into a battle as quick as you can. I try and look in the opposition’s eye and try and work out ‘how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him?’ You’ve really got to find that spark in yourself to really take it to the opposition. You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to actually get some hatred about them to actually get up when you’re out there. History is a big part in this and that is what carries us onto the ground.”
The stand out comments are ‘war’, ‘battle’ and ‘hatred’. His reference to history is laughable, too.
During the Ashes series, the third anniversary of the death of Phil Hughes will arrive. The events don’t need repeating, but Warner was on the field that day. He was next to his friend as he terminally lost consciousness at the SCG. He held Hughes’s hand as he was taken to an ambulance. He mourned at his funeral. He made some very public displays of grief.
“Every time I walk out here we’ve got our little mate walking with us and always in the back of my mind when I walk out here, he’s with me,” said Warner, of Hughes, after he scored a Test century at the SCG in the first Test hosted there since Hughes’s death. “I always think he’s at the other end with me. Every time I score runs here or score a hundred, it’s always for him.”
What a short memory he must have. It’s not quite three years since his ‘little mate’ was killed playing the game we all love. The references to war and battle are lamentable; both are inextricably linked to death, something which should have no place on a cricket field. That’s something Warner should be acutely aware of.
But he’s not. It’s difficult to know what to make of him. Is he just a moron, blissfully unaware of the impact of his words? Or is he a complete twat, the sort of person you wouldn’t want your children looking up to, incapable of even the remotest sense of self awareness?
It’s difficult now to look back and take Warner’s words and actions seriously in the aftermath of Hughes’s death. He should be appalled by himself; at least thoroughly ashamed. But he’s clearly incapable of such introspection and unaware of the contradictions he presents.
He’s a compelling cricketer to watch and his attacking elan (with the bat) has a firm place in the game. His attitude and comments, however, do not.
He might have convinced himself that he’s changed, that he’s matured, but he’s still the gobby urchin he has always been. This leopard is incapable of changing its spots, despite the most personal and horrific of experiences. For that, I guess, we should feel sorry for him.
By Miles Reucroft