In the last week, David Warner has been sacked of the Hyderabad captaincy and dropped from the side. To drop a player who has given so much to the franchise just isn’t cricket.
It was a drastic move from the Sunrisers, who are currently sitting at the bottom of the table in this IPL season.
The coach of Sunrisers, Trevor Bayliss, has put New Zealand captain Kane Williamson at the helm for the remaining season. Having led Sunrisers to the championship in 2016 and has led the side over the last 5 years, the decision has come as a shock to Warner and many cricketing pundits and commentators alike.
At 34 there will be questions over whether this is the beginning of the end for the Warner Sunrisers story. The franchise he has been the face of for years.
Considering David Warner’s past achievements, it is hard to argue that this was the right move. Warner was one of the first T20 stars. He burst onto the world scene with 89 against the South Africans on debut. The most remarkable part of this was the fact this was before he had even played a first-class fixture. No matter what happens to David Warner’s career from here, there is no doubt he will go down as one of the greats.
Over Warners 69 matches captained in the IPL to date, he won 35, including the title in 2016. A winning record of 52% gives him a higher winning percentage than Virat Kohli and Adam Gilchrist. During this time, he has also won the orange cap three times, Warner has given his all to the franchise. However, the end comes for everyone, and most do not get to choose that end. Since Warner’s IPL debut in 2009, he has been one of the best overseas players. In his 148 matches, Warner has scored 5447 runs at 42, including 4 centuries.
In 2021 Warner has been off the pace. While runs have come, they have been remarkably slow, With a strike rate of just 110 in 2021.
To date, Warner has made 193 runs from 175 balls, scoring only 21% of Hyderabad runs from 25% of their balls is not good enough for a big overseas player, the biggest at the Sunrisers franchise. Of course, the question remains whether 6 bad games is enough of a justification to drop Warner.
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Trevor Bayliss believed it was, but understood the difficult nature of his decision, speaking in the post-match press conference, he stated.
“It was obviously very difficult, someone who has had so much success for the team. But you know that is the way we wanted to go, to try and get a different combination working for us.” Bayliss said on Warner’s attitude post getting dropped.
“As any player who gets dropped, he was disappointed. But as you have seen tonight, he was charging around as 12th man doing as much as he could for the team for the boys.”
While Warner’s slowness in scoring has been a talking point throughout the season, there has been a reason behind it. With a weak Indian-based middle order in Vijay Shankar and Kedar Jadhav, Warner has needed to shield these players from the top of the order.
Between Shankar and Jadhav collectively this season, only 98 runs have been scored. With all the criticism of Warner, Sunrisers could really be helped by some better-quality Indian batting talent. This was something that Warner noticed and expressed after a frustrating loss against Mumbai.
“I don’t know how to take that. Two of us got set, my run out, Jonny stepping on his wickets, and false shots in the middle proved if you do not have two guys at the end, you do not win. These scores are very chasable it’s just poor batting.” Warner said.
Part of the reasoning behind Warner being sacked and dropped was to increase that middle order depth in the form of Afghanistan allrounder Mohammed Nabi. It was argued that Nabi would provide better balance giving a batting and bowling option. This didn’t make sense as Nabi only bowled 1 over going for 21 and only facing 5 balls with the bat. While an argument that strengthening the middle order makes sense. Doing so at the expense of one of the world’s best batters was an odd choice. With the decision to drop Warner being so controversial, it will be unlikely Bayliss goes back on this decision to bring Warner back into the eleven.
Warner was obviously frustrated with the side, which led to some speculation around unhappiness within the camp. With teams increasingly close today due to the COVID-19 bubbles, it is entirely understandable that tensions would exist. Conversations around tensions have only increased in recent days since Sunrisers director of cricket Tom Moody alluded to internal dynamics.
While it is disappointing for Australian and David Warner fans, it may be the best decision in the long run. With the IPL mega auction being in 2022, it seems Hyderabad is planning and setting up to have Kane Williamson as the centerpiece of the side. While details of the mega auction are still unknown, it is rumoured that franchises will retain only 6 players. With Warner now closer to the end of his career than the start, it would make sense for Hyderabad to move on.
Overall, David Warner has been a critical player for Sunrisers for an extremely long time. At 34, this is only the beginning of lots of talk about Warner’s future, however, with players like Chris Gayle still dominating at 40+years of age, there can still be plenty of cricket to look forward to.
With Warner likely moving onto a new franchise in 2022, his best audition will be the upcoming world cup. No matter where he ends up, Warner will provide essential experience and skill to any line-up.