Candice Warner has revealed her husband David was happy to risk a fairytale Test farewell in front of home fans in January for the chance to retain the upcoming Ashes series in England.
After coming home from the India tour early due to injury after scoring just 1, 10 and 15 – on the back of a thoroughly underwhelming two years in Test cricket – many Aussie legends are questioning whether the 36-year-old is still worthy of a spot in the XI.
He will go down as one of Australia’s greatest-ever openers, and currently has 8158 runs from 103 Tests, but his recent record has left a lot to be desired of late.
Save for his double-century against a weak South African attack in the Boxing Day Test, Warner has passed 50 just twice in 20 innings, and had last scored a 100 in January, 2020.
He is averaging 29.48 since 2021 – well down on his career average of 45 – but more concerningly made just 95 runs from 10 innings in the 2019 Ashes in the UK, which featured three ducks and seven dismissals to his nemesis, Stuart Broad.
David and Candice Warner, pictured on a date night after he returned early due to injury from the India tour. She says her husband is determined to fight hard for an Ashes spot
David and Candice play cricket with two of their daughters on the MCG on Christmas Day last year
Warner then went on to crack a drought-breaking double century in the Boxing Day Test – breaking a very long run of poor form
But Candice said David never considered retiring in the New Year’s Test earlier this year despite still riding the wave of a drought-breaking 200, because he has one eye on the Ashes, which will take place in England across June and July.
‘David still has a burning desire to open the batting for Australia. There’s still a lot of things that he wants to achieve that he hasn’t achieved,’ she told Yahoo Sports.
‘And clearly one of those would be to perform at the best he possibly can in England against the Dukes ball. Whether the selectors and the coach allows him that, I don’t know. But I do know he still has that desire and that hunger to continue.
‘He’d love to go out on his terms but you’re not always afforded that opportunity and David fully realises that.
‘He could have easily retired after the Sydney Test this year, but that’s not what he wants. He still wanted to contribute to the team in India and still be there at the Ashes and then we’ll just see.’
The British-made Dukes ball is hand-stitched and regarded as more lively than the Aussie-made Kookaburra, which is made with machines.
Aussie legend Ricky Ponting, however, believes Warner missed the perfect time to retire, and that the ‘knives are sharpening’ for selectors ahead of the Ashes.
A dejected David Warner leaves the field after being dismissed by South African quick Kagiso Rabada in the series against South Africa in December
Candice says her husband was prepared to risk a fairytale retirement from Test cricket to pursue an Ashes spot, and potential victory
‘For him to finish the way he deserves to finish, the obvious thing for me was maybe to pull the pin after Sydney. He got 200 in Melbourne, played his 100th Test, played his 101 Test in Sydney, his home ground and maybe finish there,’ he told RSN Radio earlier this month.
‘It’s up to him, though. The only currency you have as a batsman is runs and if you’re not scoring any you leave yourself open.
‘It’s happened to all of us, it happened to me. When you get to a certain age and it looks like your form is dropping off slightly, then the knives are sharpened and it doesn’t take long.’
After Travis Head made the opener spot his own with a strong finish to the India series despite being diabolically sacked for the first Test, Clarke said selectors were now caught between a rock and a hard place.
‘You look silly now,’ Clarke said.
‘Because all of us past players and fans go, ‘OK. It seems like even if I disagree with the selection or non-selection of Travis Head, I respect they are saying horses for courses’. OK, you’re going to go with that, cool.
Candice, pictured at Ladies Day at Rosehill Racecourse earlier this month, assured cricket fans that David will continue on the T20 circuit for the years to come
‘The first Test in England, how do they pick David Warner? How do they justify that if they do pick Dave Warner now?’
Candice was quick to allay fears that Warner would be lost to the game regardless, saying he would be playing in T20 franchises all over the world.
Not only the BBL Down Under – which struggles to match it dollar-wise with the big leagues, the ex-Ironwoman who has three daughters with the cricket star, mentioned the slightly more exotic and less-traditional leagues in Dubai, America, South Africa and Pakistan, as well as the IPL, where he is universally adored.
‘Even if he was to retire from playing international cricket for Australia, you’ll see David playing cricket for a few more years to come,’ said Candice.
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