Just like his captain did before, David Warner has also shouldered the major responsibility for Australia’s struggling middle order in the recently concluded World T20.
Warner surprisingly averaged just 9.5 in four matches in his new middle order position during Australia’s frustrating World T20 mission.
However, in seven matches of the Indian Premier League, while opening the innings the hard-hitting left-hander has bagged 386 runs to be the tournament’s leading run-scorer. So is it the batting position which affected his performance?
No, Warner doesn’t put this situation down to the change in the batting order.
“I think the difference between that (World T20) and here (IPL) is the fact that from a team balance point of view for Australia (batting in the middle-order) was the right way to go about it,” Warner said on Saturday.
“We tried it (batting in the middle order) in South Africa, we wanted a left-hand, right-hand combination and some more depth in the middle.
“I spoke to Smudge (captain Steve Smith) about it, I agreed with him to do it, I put my hand up, and I’ve done it in the past.
“At the end of the day, our top order did go well. It was our middle order that didn’t fire.
“It is always tough when you look back and say ‘in hindsight’ but we just didn’t perform, as simple as that.
“It takes a couple of game and then you come out here and play the way you do, that’s just cricket. You can have your purple patches.”
Interestingly Warner’s view seems the same as his captain Smith has said earlier. The Australian captain agreed it was the middle order’s failure which hampered Australia’s run for a maiden World T20 title.
“I thought the top of our order played pretty well,” Smith told cricket.com.au in an interview.
“Usman (Khawaja) got us off to a good start every game. He was in very good form, probably the most in-form batter in the Australian team in the past year or thereabouts.
“You could have gone all different ways.
“But I thought Warner is a good player. He was able to adjust and play well (in the middle order) in South Africa – he plays spin well.
“Our middle order let us down.
“We got off to good starts in most of our games and the middle order, myself included, weren’t up to the task in this particular World Cup.”
Having a surplus of top-order batsmen in their 15-man squad, one of the most challenging selection headaches the Australian selectors had faced ahead of the World T20 was how to squeeze five equally talented batsmen into the four spots of the top order.
Usman Khawaja was the most hyped player in the country, Shane Watson looked confident enough following a T20 international hundred while opening the batting, Aaron Finch was seen as the No.1 rated T20 batsman in the world and Warner as always happens to be Australia’s most prolific opener, with captain Smith to fit in the middle somewhere.
The national selectors and Steve Smith initially decided to go with the combination of Watson and Khawaja for the first two games before Finch was recalled and as a result, Watson had to slip down to No.6 in the order.
While both the opening combinations displayed some decent performances, Australian media, and ex-players, like Shane Warne, alleged splitting the Warner-Finch combination was a major mistake.
The explosive form Warner and Finch showing in the IPL, it easily supports Warne’s suggestions; with the latter picking up three consecutive man-of-the-match performances together to start the tournament before injury struck.