David Warner's improvement graph has been very impressive across formats since 2013 © Getty Images
David Warner’s improvement graph has been very impressive across formats since 2013 © Getty Images

A cricketer who had earned the Baggy Green even without playing a First-Class game; there was a time when there were debates about banning him from the game. Today he is the vice-captain of the Australian national side across formats — David Warner — the improvement graph for him has always remained on the rise since 2013. It was the year which saw Warner’s an unbelievable transformation  from an irresponsible, arrogant and as late Martin Crowe once termed him as “worst behaved cricketer,” into the role model he is today. He has carved himself into one of the most crucial members of current Australian side, averaging more than 50 in the Tests and nearing 40s in the ODIs. FULL CRICKET SCORECARD: Australia vs South Africa, Tri-Nations Series, Match 4 at Basseterre

David Warner's growth in the ODI average since his debut till now.
David Warner’s growth in the ODI average since his debut till now.

The last couple of months have witnessed Warner at his best. Which is why it was difficult to believe that his century against South Africa in the ongoing Tri-Nation Series 2016 was only his sixth ODI ton. It was also Warner’s first century on the foreign soil and his maiden against the Proteas. The cricketer who hails from New South Wales averaged less than 30 from 2012 and 2013. However, that went unnoticed because he covered up by making his presence felt in the Indian Premier League and even in the Tests, where he maintained his average above 40.

When Warner entered international cricket, even his then batting coach Justin Langer never believed that a typical T20 slogger would ever have prolonged success in the longest format of the game. Langer left his post as the Australian national side’s head coach in 2012, when Warner was trying too hard to prove his Test critics wrong but still had a long way to go in the 50-over format. Within nine months of Langer’s exit, Warner was sanctioned twice by Cricket Australia for his off-field behaviour.

David Warner's growth in the Test average since his debut till now.
David Warner’s growth in the Test average since his debut till now.

Warner had a Twitter feud with two Australian journalists, and then infamous brawl with Joe Root which is made into epic proportions, happened outside a bar during the Champions Trophy 2013 in England. These incidents happened before he met his eventual wife Candice Falzon. It was her who brought the transformation in a deceived Warner, who has never looked back since then. Warner went on to become a part of an Ashes winning Australian side, where he finished as the top-scorer with 523 run in 5 Tests. He lifted the 2015 ICC Cricket World Cup trophy under the leadership of Michael Clarke.

During the ICC World Cup in February – March 2015, he did not average more than 35, but one could not see any downfall in the graph. Warner was moving ahead with his numbers in the ODIs, game after game. Following the 2015 World Cup, Australia did not play a lot of limited-overs cricket. But with the provided opportunity, the Australian vice-captain ensured his average kept on shooting up and now he averages almost 40 in the ODIs.

Warner won his maiden Indian Premier League (IPL) trophy as a skipper in IPL 2016 and that achievement spoke volumes about his discipline, determination and character as a cricketer. A player who always got involved in on and off-field rows today is a proud captain of a T20 side. More importantly, Sunrisers Hyderabad (SRH) have the trophy in their cabinet, which is majorly because of Warner. The majority of runs scored in almost every match came off Warner’s bat. In the second qualifier against Gujarat Lions, his unbeaten 92 when rest others failed took SRH to the final.

Can you decide who is best of these two? Difficult, right?
Can you decide who is best of these two? Difficult, right?

Virat Kohli and AB de Villiers have naturally been the best of the lot in the current generation. Warner has brought himself to that level where he can easily be counted in the same class as Kohli and de Villiers with his consistency, control over their emotions and discipline. At present, Warner averages way more than Kohli in the ultimate format of the game, Tests. They swap positions when it comes to ODIs. Nevertheless, in no time he has the capability to cut the gap, provided he masters the art of consistency. That will not only take him at the top but also will allow Australia retain its position as the leaders of the 50-over format.

(Sakshi Gupta, a reporter with CricketCountry, is a sports fanatic whose mantra in life is “do only what you enjoy.” Her Twitter handle is @sakshi2929)