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A lot of us have underestimated just how elite David Warner’s career has been


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Conversation around whether David Warner deserved a farewell series has been the talk of the summer so far; the Australian public and media torn on the debate. But have we been ignoring his greatness?

Over the past few years, Warner’s standards have dropped. There’s no denying that.

The 100-plus capped Test opener has averaged just 30 runs an innings across 2021-23 — 14 runs less than his career Test average.

But just when we thought his final chapter would drift off without the fanfare we’ve become accustomed to with other departing cricket greats, the ‘Bull’ treated Perth Stadium and Pakistan’s bowling attack like a china store.

With his 164 in the first innings of the first Test against Pakistan in Perth, it’s got us all wondering whether his time in green and gold has underestimated and under-appreciated.

An unavoidable reality for the 37-year-old is that actions and words have carved Warner into a figure far more polarising than other greats that have come before him — he got in a dust up with Joe Root in a pub, was a central character in the infamous sandpapergate and reportedly considered taking Cricket Australia to court over not allowing him to return to an official leadership position.

You have to look beyond Warner’s shortcomings to notice his batting greatness; the records indicate he’s mounted genuine legendary status consideration. And if you think that seems hyperbole, take a look for yourself.

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David Warner will retire as one of Test cricket’s greatest openers.

The stats that prove David Warner is an all-time great

Former Test players Mitchell Johnson and Ed Cowan – and probably plenty more – must have missed these statistics before slamming Cricket Australia for seemingly allowing Warner to have his dream ‘farewell tour’.

Over his 13-year Test career, the blistering opener has accumulated a monster amount of runs, over 8,600, along with an incredible accumulation of hundreds, 26 centuries, after his recent critic-silencing 164 against Pakistan.

So for those after specific evidence as to who David Warner stacks up against, when his career is permanently installed into the history books, here it is.

5th most Test runs for Australia

Following David Warner’s 26th ton, not only did he prove many wrong that thought he had nothing left to give, but he also surpassed Matthew Hayden and his former captain Michael Clarke on the leading run-scorers list for Australia, now sitting fifth all-time.

With over 8,000 runs to his name, Warner is in elite company; only seven other Australian batsmen have reached that Test run-scoring milestone, of which he is one.

It’s basically impossible for him to climb any higher however, with current teammate Steve Smith roughly 700 runs in front of him, and Ricky Ponting well out in front, on top of the list with a whopping 13,378 runs.

2nd most Test centuries for an Australian opener

In the first innings of the First Test against Pakistan, the 2023-24 series, Warner played his 200th innings in Test cricket, bringing up his 26th Test ton.

Already sitting in second place for most Test centuries for an Australian opener, he now brings himself within four tons of Matthew Hayden – arguably one of Australia’s greatest openers — who scored 30 tons from 184 innings.

Test cricket, best test openers, hayden, warner, David Warner
Matthew Hayden (left) and Warner make our Top 5 Best Test openers list

2nd most hundreds combined across all formats for Australia

Probably what bests that previous record is Warner’s unbelievable versatility across all three formats of the game, with a combined 49 centuries.

This puts David Warner in second placed for Australians; Ricky Ponting holds the record with 70 tons from 667 innings — a slightly lower hundred percentage per innings than Warner (Ponting: 10.5, Warner: 10.7).

Warner has 26 Test centuries, 22 One-Day International tons and one lonesome T20 international hundred.

Best strike rate in Australian Test cricket

Through 200 innings out in the middle in Test cricket, David Warner holds the best strike rate in that format of the game for any Australian with a minimum of 8,000 runs — a 70.46 strike rate.

His aggression and ability to flip pressure back onto bowlers has always been a hallmark of his career and it seems to be an aspect that no players coming through possess.

Following Warner on this list is unsurprisingly Matthew Hayden, at 60.13, then Ponting with 58.72.

2nd most ODI centuries in a calendar year

They don’t do One-Day cricket like they used to, but back in 2016, Warner had a white-ball year to remember, scoring seven centuries and four 50s across 23 matches.

It was a jam-packed calendar year, which involved three five-match series against India, Sri Lanka and South Africa, plus two three-game series both against New Zealand and a one-off tri-series between South Africa and the West Indies.

With the dropping amount 50-over cricket being played, it’ll be some effort for anyone to ever pass Sachin Tendulkar, who holds the record here for most tons in a calendar year, with nine and a whopping 1,894 runs.

Why David Warner always deserved the fairytale ending

Once you see the body of work David Warner has put together over his 13-year Test career, it becomes clear to see that he has earned the right to depart from the longest format on his own terms.

He circled the 2024 New Years Test, at his home ground the SCG, practically 12 months prior, after a mesmerising double-century in Melbourne. And although he then averaged 8.7 against India and 28.5 in the Ashes, we can’t deny someone of this much greatness one final farewell when no one else is demanding his spot.

It’s fair to expect that Australians will always have a polarising perception of David Warner — some love him, some not so much. And although there have been times when he’s made it hard to like him, when it comes down to the cricket, he has delivered.

Three Ashes series victories, two Cricket World Cups, a T20 World Cup, a World Test Championship and three Allan Boarder medals — Warner is an all-time great, and we will miss his impact when all is said and done.

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