David Warner – World Class Opener Or Fraud?

Today new writer Grant Scott articulates something that a lot of England supporters think but rarely say. You tell ’em, Grant…

As he unleashed his trademark leap into the air before injuring himself and having to retire hurt (he’d come back out the next day), David Warner looked a jubilant but relieved man. He had every right to be too, he had just reached a double hundred in what was his first Test century in nearly three years. Over the course of those three, long, lean years, Warner averaged just 26.07 across 15 Test Matches.

During this face-saving double ton, Warner managed to pass Mark Waugh into eighth place on Australia’s most Test runs list. That 25th Test ton also puts him eighth in most Test hundreds scored for Australia, too. His Test record now stands at 8132 runs at 46.20, with 25 hundreds across 101 Tests, and at a strike rate of 71.37. Impressive… or so you’d think. But it’s a somewhat different story when you delve deeper into Warner’s record.

Now, I should point out that we are only looking at Warner’s Test record. His statistics in the two white ball formats is excellent. But when one breaks his Test numbers down, we see a distinct pattern…

In 55 home Tests, Warner’s average increases to 58.40 with a whopping 19 hundreds. But in 46 Tests away from home, his average drops to a mediocre 34.01 with just 6 of his 25 Test tons coming on foreign soil. For someone who has been dubbed as the best Test opener of this generation, they are some telling statistics.

I imagine any fervent Warner fans reading this will tell me that it’s not uncommon for cricketers (or perhaps even sportspeople in general) to fare better at home than away. And, of course, they’d be right. It’s not uncommon. But Warner’s drop off away from home is significant though – it’s not just marginal. What’s more, that away record becomes even less impressive when put under the microscope further.

Let’s look at those six away centuries. There were 3 in South Africa – the country with pitches and conditions most similar to Australia than anywhere else; 2 in Bangladesh – Bangladesh a team whom, whilst not the rollovers they were 15-20 years ago, are still among the weakest Test opposition; and 1 in U.A.E – arguably the flattest wickets on earth.

Warner has therefore played Tests in ten different countries away from home, but only scored hundreds in three of them. And those have come in arguably the three easiest countries for him to do so.

The bottom line is therefore this: in 36 Tests across the countries of England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & West Indies, Warner does not have a single Test hundred to his name. What’s worse, his average in these countries, where his method is actually tested, is just 25.63. I repeat, 25.63.

Consequently, there’s an enormous hole in his cricketing CV and, in my opinion, it goes largely unnoticed. Warner hasn’t had success on the raging bunsens of India or Sri Lanka, nor against the red duke ball under cloudy conditions in England. In other words, he hasn’t proven he can be successful across the world. This is strange for someone who is so often dubbed as world class.

2023 is a big year for Australia in Test matches and a big year for David Warner – they face both India and England away from home – their two toughest tests and their two biggest rivals, not to mention they will likely have the World Test Championship Final sandwiched in between as well.

Can Warner, at the age of 36, suddenly find the ability to score runs in all conditions and rip this article to shreds?

Predictably he failed miserably in the first innings in Nagpur- castled spectacularly by Mohammad Shami with just 1 run to his name. But there’s always the second dig…

Grant Scott


  • Fraud is a bit if an misnomer. I’m sure if you ask any bowler who’s played against him they see his wicket as a major plus. Look how Broad, a world class bowler, celebrated every time he trapped Warner in the last home series. There are very batsmen who excel in all conditions. I’m sure if he was available for England he’s walk into the present line up. Who would you choose, Duckett, Crawley or Warner?

    • “Walk in” is a bit generous. Duckett hasn’t had long enough to prove his versatility in different conditions. Crawley is similar to Warner, in being able to play a long and devastating hand, occasionally. But he has a much lower ratio of long innings to short innings, irrespective of conditions.

    • I’m not sure that there’s any similarity. Warner plays devastating hands with extreme regularity–but only in some conditions. Since they include home conditions, he’s an extremely useful player to have in your side for more than half the time–although I would agree that he’s not world-class because that range of conditions is too limited.

      But Crawley simply doesn’t score big very often at all–he’s got one hundred at home and three in over 30 tests–and he scores small a LOT. I would argue that he’s only played one match-winning innings at most in a test. Duckett has played a similar number of first-class games to Warner’s tests, and he’s played them almost all in his home conditions–and his average is still several runs lower. Whatever Warner’s limitations abroad–and they’re considerable–I too think he would walk into England’s side…and pretty much every other one except India.

  • Opposing teams are always glad to see the back of him, because he can bat destructively for long periods – on flat tracks in flat atmospheric conditions. Confronted by good bowling in even slightly challenging conditions he is unlikely to deliver these white ball results. Swing and nip do for him nearly every time. His record in England, India, New Zealand, Pakistan, Sri Lanka & West Indies speaks for itself (and the stats adduced are not lying).

  • Teams not only celebrate Warner’s wicket because he’s good; they also celebrate because he’s a renowned sledger and cheat. Opponents simply don’t like him much. What’s more, getting him out is a good way to quieten the bloke in the opposition ranks who chirps the most.

    Warner is the archetypal marmite character. You love him if he’s on your side. But he’s borderline intolerable if he’s playing against you.

  • Just read this after posting a comment under James’s piece.

    YES – Warner is an archetypal Aussie flag-track bully.

    The stats say that he’s superb in Australia, but mediocre elsewhere (except SA).

    He will tour ENG this summer, because AUS have nobody else – remember both he and Khawaja are both 36. THEY GOT NOBODY ELSE.

    Apart from Marnus and Smith……..it is entirely reasonable to say ‘ THEY GOT NOTHING’,

  • I notice that our resident Australian nationalist troll (who I’ve asked both politely and impolitely to leave this site) compared Jimmy Anderson’s record away from home to Warner’s. Jimmy isn’t perfect, as his returns in Australia and South Africa aren’t as good as his career record (although he still has 3 five-fers), but his average overseas is still 30 with 8 five-fers despite a poor start to his career. However, in the last 10 years it’s well below 30. He also averages 19 in Pakistan, 29 in India, 21 in the UAE, and 25 in the West Indies. His economy rates are also pretty good away from home, and he averages under 35 in every single country.

    The comparison to Warner therefore doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. Warner is a fantastic dasher but his record in England (26), India (22), New Zealand (13), Sri Lanka (25), and West Indies (27) – without a single century across 31 Tests in these countries – is pretty disastrous. I’m sure he’d even admit this himself.

    * I should also mention that an average of 34 in Australia and South Africa is hardly terrible. Nathan Lyon, who I’m sure many Australians would argue is world class, has an overall Test average of 32! His stats are a 31.5 average in Australia and 40 in South Africa. Jimmy therefore isn’t doing too badly at all in these countries, especially for a bowler of his type who relies on accuracy and swing more than pace and bounce.

    • Yeah, that’s fair enough. I would still think Warner was a dangerous customer if the next Ashes was in Australia, but it isn’t and it must be pretty though if not impossible for him to reinvent himself at this stage. I wouldn’t be surprised if he called it quits if things continue to go very bad in India but that is just a guess.

      Re Anderson, the immense skill he showed even in Pakistan says all you need to say. Yes, he was often very mediocre up until about late 2009, but largely he has been consistently good most places and then incredible often enough since.


copywriter copywriting