Bring on South Africa: Australian Ashes hero David Warner. Photo: Brendan EspositoDavid Warner will fight fire with fire against South Africa’s powerful pace attack, promising to maintain the aggressive attitude that delivered him so much success in the Ashes.
The explosive opener, the leading run-scorer in this summer’s series, said he would continue to play his shots against the world No.1 team’s lethal pace trio of Dale Steyn, Vernon Philander and Morne Morkel.
“[I’ve] got to keep maintaining the confidence I have and trusting my game,” Warner said. “Trusting my game and going with my gut and not trying to cloud my mind with anything else bar positive cricket.”
Warner’s batting mentor, Trent Woodhill, had said earlier in the summer that his protege’s form had waned towards the end of Mickey Arthur’s reign as the coaching staff had curbed his natural attacking instincts.
The theory is supported by his career numbers, which show that Warner is at his best when he looks to score rather than occupy the crease.
In the five series where he has averaged above 40, he has scored at above 73 runs per 100 balls but in India he averaged 24 with a strike rate of 50 and in England his numbers were 23 and 61.
Warner has enjoyed success attacking the Proteas; his century at better than a run a ball last summer in Adelaide proof for him his bold strategy will work in South Africa.
“If I go too defensive with those guys it’s probably going to be tough for me,” Warner said. “I’ve got to play my shots as much as I can.”
Warner also wants his opening partner, Chris Rogers, to maintain the high scoring rate that was a feature of his centuries in Melbourne and Sydney.
“Different batting style but he scored both his hundreds at a strike rate of 75. I said you can do that all the time instead of striking at 30,” Warner said.
“But that’s him, having the intent. He was talking to us about not having enough runs on the board [and that] his spot may be up in question and he came out and played positive cricket and that’s the Chris Rogers that we know.”
Rogers, not known as a free-flowing strokeplayer, said: “I still don’t think people had seen the way I could actually bat and I wanted to show that. And fortunately I’ve been able to play a couple of big innings.”
Having overcome an attack led by James Anderson and Stuart Broad to be the leading run-scorer across the two Ashes series, Rogers is looking forward to the chance to face Steyn and co.
Despite his strong form, Rogers maintains his position in the Test side is not safe. “At my stage I have to score runs. They always push for the next big thing so I’ve got to keep doing well,” Rogers said. “And I enjoy playing under pressure so I’ve got to keep putting myself under pressure.”
The 36-year-old, who had to wait five-and-a-half years to shed the one-Test wonder tag, said his career now felt complete but would not be retiring any time soon.
“If I’d finished and not played international cricket I would have been quite disappointed so to get this opportunity and play it well I can finish cricket at some stage and say ‘I’ve done everything’ and that’s great to do,” Rogers said.
“People talk about retirement but what’s the point in retiring? This is amazing and I haven’t had this opportunity before so I might as well enjoy it while it lasts.”
That attitude was also apparent in his celebrations. Rogers missed the start of the public event at the Opera House after sleeping in.
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