Former England captain Michael Vaughan has expressed his surprise at the “friction” between David Warner and some ex-players and fans, and describes the Aussie batsman opener as “one of the greats.”
“I don’t understand why people aren’t talking about him being a great player,” Vaughan told Fox Cricket, where he works as a commentator.
“The fact he has made mistakes in the past, I guess, there’s friction there with him and a few ex-players (and) I guess there’s friction there with him and a few Aussie supporters.
“(But) if you actually put all that to one side and look at his numbers, he’s only had one blip and that’s his batting in England against Stuart Broad around the wicket.
“Other than that, he’s pretty much dominated wherever he’s played, and he’s played T20 cricket, 50-over cricket and Test match cricket. His record here in Australia is fantastic.
“You talk about the greats of the game and I go back to the late 90s and early 2000s, that great Australian side, (and) not many of them have 25 Test match centuries.
“Yet here we are, with a player like David Warner, who is three Test matches away from saying goodbye, and all the talk is ‘Should he get that opportunity to play in Sydney?’”
“I’m sure in the next couple of Test matches, particularly in Perth where he likes the bouncy deck, off the back of a bit of controversy, (he will perform well),” he said.
“I heard his comment the other day that the summer of cricket wouldn’t be the same without a headline or two. I’d be amazed if he doesn’t get a few runs in the next week or so.”
Warner’s decision to declare he wanted to end his Test career after the Sydney match against Pakistan has rankled many – although the opener has always been clear that it was up to the selectors if he should make it that far.
He has been whacked in quick succession by Mitchell Johnson and former opening partner Ed Cowan – who delivered a withering sledge this week when he referred to Warner as a “walking wicket”.
But current teammates have been full of praise for Warner’s impact on the successful team.
“You look at his career (and) it’s been incredible. I think he’s closing in on the all-time … most runs as an opener, I think,” Steve Smith said.
“So that’s pretty incredible given some of the batters that have gone before him as openers as well. He’s been a tremendous player, you know, for over a decade.”
Nathan Lyon added: “I look at David and David’s career and I honestly believe that when he is retired, the Australian public are going to realise the important (role) that David has played in this Australian Test team for the last 13 years.
“His role of going out there and scoring hard runs, doing the hardest job arguably, even in the last Ashes, I know he didn’t get the big 100 and stuff, but he played some very important knocks that not many people were talking about. So I look at David and I do think he is in the top two greatest openers of all time for Australia.
“I’ve been very fortunate to play over 100 Test matches with Davey and I honestly believe that he’s probably the most generous bloke I’ve ever met, especially off the field, but he’s probably also the biggest competitor I’ve ever played with.”
Skipper Pat Cummins pointed to Warner’s positivity in the sheds.
“I’ve got a million memories and there are plenty of off-field memories that make me smile,” Cummins said.
“Just around the changeroom he is always full of energy and up for fun. He can be anything. He can be a menace. (But) when the boys are getting a bit flat, he can be the one to buzz around.
“I think one of my favourite memories of Dave is (from a match) that I was not playing in, which was his 100 against India at the WACA Ground where he just tore them apart.
“That was ten years ago and that just did not really happen in Test cricket. He was one of the first guys to think, ‘Okay. It is a new ball. A fast bowler. But who cares? I am going to hit him back over his head’.”
Mitchell Starc was also gushing.
“I debuted in Test cricket with Davey, so I’ve seen David for a long time across all formats,” Starc said.
“I think if you look at his numbers across the board in all formats, he’s certainly one of the greatest we’ve had, certainly at the top of the order.”