Family time had calming effect on Warner: Woodhill

Trent Woodhill

As he walked back to the pavilion after his 56-ball 81 on Monday, the packed crowd at the Rajiv Gandhi Stadium in Hyderabad offered a standing ovation to David Warner. In an IPL marred by controversies, the southpaw stood out with performances that spelt pure class.    

Warner has ended his IPL stint on a high. The Australian came down hard on bowlers, executed his trademark leap in the air after a century and was a livewire on the field. On the whole, Warner was revelling in a sport he loves the most. Flashback to 12 months, Warner’s tearful image had hit the cricketing world, following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.

Ahead of the 12th edition of the IPL, there was a sense of curiosity as Warner and his compatriot Steve Smith, who was also banned, were set for a comeback. And Warner has returned with a bang, smashing 692 runs, including eight half-centuries and one ton, to be the league’s highest-run getter till now.  

Trent Woodhill, Warner’s batting coach and confidante, feels the IPL is a good stage for players seeking to shine after setbacks. “Most of the international cricketers live in a bubble. The IPL brings together different nationalities and different culture. It’s a very good place for players looking to restart cricket again,” Woodhill tells DH.

Strong and supportive families have lifted sporting personalities from the dumps. Warner’s case is no different. “The girls and I are proud of you,” Candice, Warner’s wife, had said on Twitter on Monday.  

“When the thing that you love the most is taken away from you, it becomes difficult to handle,” Woodhill points out. “Initially, he was too low when slapped with the ban. But he (Warner) is lucky to have a great wife in Candice, great family and a set of close friends. Look, the best thing is the bad days are over and the Australian cricket will surely be desperate to have him back,” Woodhill says.

Perhaps, it helped Warner that he accepted the reality sooner than later. “I was impressed with the way he spent those 12 months. He is a fantastic cricketer and looked to improve his batting. But he is also a fantastic husband and a great father.

“The time spent with family has had a calming effect on him. This episode and the way he has returned is sure to extend his career. Cricket will definitely be in his body, mind and spirit,” notes Woodhill, a former batting coach of Royal Challengers Bangalore.

As Australia look to defend the World Cup, Warner has issued a strong warning to all the rival bowlers. “He is a strong off-side player but in this IPL, he has dominated on both the sides. After his terrific run in 2016, this is the best I have seen him play in the IPL.

“Warner is Australia’s best One-day player. He has to open the innings.

“If Australia have to win the title, it’s important that Warner has a good tournament. Australia have a good leader in (Aaron) Finch and a good coach in (Justin) Langer. I am sure they will take the right decisions,” he explains.

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