David Warner reveals his grandfather inspired him to aim for baggy green

David Warner celebrates his maiden century in the second Trans Tasman Test match against New Zealand Getty Images

Melbourne: Dec 26, 2011

Much before Virender Sehwag predicted a successful Test career for him, Australian opener David Warner was inspired to chase the baggy green by his late grandfather and the explosive batsman says he still follows the suggestions that he received from him in tweenage.

Frank Warner, who died about 12 years ago, inspired the young Warner to strive hard for a Test career even as he battled for life.

“My grandfather was a massive inspiration for me when he passed away when I was 13 or 14,” Warner told the Herald.

“It took a lot of courage for me to say, ‘Right, I’m going to put all my eggs in one basket and try and keep aspiring to play cricket for my country’,” he added.

Frank’s commitment to his grandsons’ cricket began by watching every match Warner’s older brother Steve played, and he maintained that approach for David, who believes that even the the manner of his grandfather’s death, after a massive stroke in his mid 80s, was inspiring.

“When you get to know someone (that closely) it’s like losing a parent. For the 13 years of my life before he passed away he kept saying to me, ‘You’ve got to keep striving for your baggy green’,” Warner said.

“We turned off his life support and he went two weeks without life support. We were starting to teach him how to read and write and point at things, because he lost a lot of his speech and couldn’t really move.

“One day I just heard him yell out my name. It was a massive sigh of relief because he got a second chance at living. Unfortunately he passed away but I’ve always stuck by what he’s said to me – and I’m doing that at the moment,” Warner said.

The 27-year-old, who raised his first Test century against New Zealand at Hobart during the recently concluded two-match series, revealed that there were tears in his eyes when he reached the milestone and his grandfather will continue to inspire him.

“It brought a tear to my eye when I hugged (batting partner) Brad (Haddin) when I got my hundred — I think he saw the emotion in my face as well. My parents did as well. I know my old man had a tear in his eye, especially when I looked up to the heavens. He (grandfather) is always going to keep inspiring me to play to my potential.”

The left-hander looked towards the sky as he vaulted in the air in triumph. His motivation was to mark the influence of his paternal grandfather on his career.

“To look back and see where I am today, I couldn’t be any more proud of myself. My family are over the moon. Mum and dad put a lot of time and effort in when I was young, then spent a lot of money on me purchasing cricket bats and stuff like that. I owe them a lot,” Warner said. (PTI)