On January 11th 2009, David Warner played his first match for Australia. It was the one off T20 match against South Africa at the MCG. Warner had never played a first class match before so his selection into the starting XI was a big surprise and it raised the eyebrows of everyone watching not least the former Australian captain, Ian Chappell. Chappell said that it would not be fair for someone to get an Aussie cap without going through the hard grind of the domestic circuit.
One hour and 89 runs later, Warner showed the world why he was so special. He announced himself on the world stage by blasting the likes of Dale Steyn and Morne Morkel to all parts of the famous ground. Comparisons started with the great Adam Gilchrist immediately and from then on a lot was expected of the little Pitbull.
In the early part of his career, Warner was accused of being a spoilt brat. His aggression often went over the line and even his staunchest supporters had misgivings over his long term future. They were afraid he would go the Andrew Symonds road and had it not been for the once in a generation talent inside Shane Warne, he might have had a premature end to his career as well.
But he gradually worked on his discipline and made a real effort at trying to fix his off field issues. He also quit drinking in order to maintain his fitness which gave him much appreciation from the Australian public who considered this positive influence on young cricketers in the country.
Written off as a limited overs specialist, Warner exploded onto the Test arena in 2011, when he scored a match winning hundred against New Zealand. He gradually made his mark on Test cricket in the successive years and finally marked himself out as a great when he scored four consecutive hundreds against New Zealand in 2015.
In that same match, Warner also became the second opener in Test cricket history, after Sunil Gavaskar, to score three consecutive Test hundreds twice in his career, and the only Australian since Gilchrist to score three consecutive hundreds.
By 2015, Warner had established himself as one of the leading batsmen in the world and was rewarded by becoming the Vice-Captain of the Australian team. He also had a fairly successful time in the IPL first with Delhi Daredevils and then with the Hyderabad Sunrisers. While he was the leading run scorer in the 2015 edition, it was in the 2016 edition where he truly left a mark.
The 2016 edition of the IPL will be remembered for the superhuman exploits of Virat Kohli. Had it not been for Kohli, Warner’s exploits would have gained more limelight. He scored 9 half centuries in the 16 matches that he played in. And while Kohli could not take his team to the trophy, Warner did.
He hit a sublime 93 not out to guide his team into the finals. On the big occasion, he scored a quick fire 63 to provide the impetus into the innings. His leadership skills impressed one during the tournament and that was true in the final. He did not lose cool when Gayle and Kohli threatened to take the game away, instead focused on the right bowling changes which eventually gave him the wickets his team required and led the Sunrisers to victory.
From a brash young kid, Warner has now ascended to the top of world cricket. Leading his country seems to be the next step for him and if the early signals are any indication, it seems like Australia are in safe hands.