Australia news – David Warner reveals Lord’s would have been his last Test if he hadn’t scored runs


David Warner has revealed he was prepared to walk away from Test cricket after the second match of last year’s Ashes series at Lord’s if he had not scored runs.

At the beginning of the England tour, ahead of the World Test Championship final against India, Warner had laid out his ambition to retire in this week’s Sydney Test, but at the time acknowledged form would still play a part.

Now, on the eve of his final Test against Pakistan, he detailed how Lord’s could have been swansong if he did not feel he was contributing to the team.

“I said quite clearly in England before the World Test Championship, there was a lot of talk about me and my form, [and] I wanted to nip it in the bud early, I said my ideal preparation to finish would be Sydney,” Warner said on Monday. “But I actually had Lord’s penciled in as my last Test, especially if I didn’t go as well as I did as a partnership with Uzzie [Usman Khawaja] at the top of the order.

“Then from there it just followed on that we played some good innings together. I didn’t have that hundred [in England] that I always wanted but eluded me. But as a team and as a whole we did our bit, so to get this ending is awesome, but it’s not about me, it’s about us. We’ve won the series, but to win 3-0 and have a whitewash here at the SCG would be a great thing for the team.”

As events played out, Warner made an important 43 on the first day of the WTC final at The Oval where Australia beat India, but made only 1 in the second, before scoring 9 and 36 in the first Ashes Test at Edgbaston. He followed that with a vital 66 on the opening day at Lord’s in tricky batting conditions.

Across the first two Ashes Tests, he put on three half-century stands with Usman Khawaja. Warner then went on to score another half-century in the final match of the series at The Oval, sharing a partnership of 140 with Khawaja, and began this home season making 164 against Pakistan in the opening Test Perth.

“I’ve not always fitted the mould, but I’ve been authentic and honest…and I think that shows you on the field in Test cricket, I’ve played the exact same way. I’m even playing lap shots like I do in T20 cricket. I’m still trying my best to get better even in this last Test. I’m hungry to score runs.”

David Warner

Warner insisted he had never had doubts over his ability but wanted to make the best decision for the team.

“If you’re down 2-0, and you go into that third one, and you lose that, I don’t think it’s the right choice to make [to keep playing]. It’s an easy exit,” he said. “For me, a second [reason] was if I was failing and we hadn’t won, then it would have been an easier decision.

“I didn’t want to put the team or the selectors in a position where they had to think about, ‘mate, it’s time to push on’. It was more about me just going, ‘I’m content with that. I’m happy with it, I’ve had a great career’. But if I could still do my best and bat well with Uzzie and put us into a good position…I could do that for the rest of the series.”

Warner admitted that the emotions around the end of his Test career have grown in recent weeks since the start of the series against Pakistan.

“When I looked at Lord’s as a potential finish, I didn’t really have many emotions because I was content,” he said. “I might not have been scoring runs, but I still had the desire to play Test cricket. I love the game of cricket, it doesn’t matter what format I’m playing. But definitely, it’s been emotional since Perth, since I’ve been back in Australia and knowing that I’m playing [my final Test].

“Getting that 160, putting us into a great position for the team, it hit home when people in the streets were coming up and saying, ‘well done, we support you, we back you’. It really means a lot. The emotions probably started then.”

Asked how he would like to be remembered as a Test cricketer, he said as someone who has “given his all”.

“A boy from housing commission having a dream,” he said. “I’ve not always fitted the mould, but I’ve been authentic and honest…and I think that shows you on the field in Test cricket, I’ve played the exact same way. I’m even playing lap shots like I do in T20 cricket. I’m still trying my best to get better even in this last Test. I’m hungry to score runs.

“It’s no different to any other game and I just want to leave behind that you can go out and play the way you want to play. You can play with freedom, you can play reverse sweeps like Joe Root if you want. You’ve got the ability to do that and you’ve got to trust and believe in yourself.”

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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