For the Indian Premier League, David Warner is special. The Australian is one of the few international cricketers who have been consistently producing incredible performances throughout league’s history; Warner is the fifth-highest run-getter in the tournament (5447 runs in 148 games). His relationship with Hyderabad goes beyond numbers; over the years, Warner has become an adopted son of the city.
But the Indian Premier League – and T20 format in general – can be cruel. A series of underwhelming performances can instantly push one to fringes. Six games into the 2021 season, Warner played considerably slower on the sluggish pitches of Chennai, and continued to struggle with form when the IPL action shifted to Delhi. As a result, he was dropped from the side in Sunrisers’ seventh game of the tournament, while also losing his captaincy.
Warner’s struggles in IPL 2021:
Warner put 193 runs in six games in the first leg of the tournament with two half-centuries, which isn’t as bad a record on paper — except when considering the standards Warner has set for himself. Moreover, these runs came with a strike-rate of 110.28, which is the lowest-ever for the left-handed opener in the tournament’s history.
Warner began his IPL 2021 campaign with a dismal 3 against Kolkata Knight Riders but came back strongly with a 37-ball 54 against Royal Challengers Bangalore. He scored 36 off 34 deliveries against Mumbai Indians, and scored at run-a-ball during his 37-run innings against Punjab Kings.
|Against||David Warner’s Score in IPL 2021|
|Kolkata Knight Riders||3 (4)|
|Royal Challengers Bangalore||54 (37)|
|Mumbai Indians||36 (34)|
|Punjab Kings||37 (37)|
|Delhi Capitals||6 (8)|
|Chennai Super Kings||57 (55)|
Warner’s strike-rate added to SRH’s batting-order issues as the side lacked an experienced finisher in the middle-order. The continued struggles of Manish Pandey and Virat Singh did little to help, and the presence of rookies like Abhishek Sharma and Abdul Samad in the lower-order meant Warner’s responsibilities had outgrown multifolds in the 2021 season. This resulted in a naturally-aggressive Warner playing with the patience of a saint.
Justifiably, SRH failed to produce results, winning only one of the first six games. Something had to give; and Warner faced the brunt. With a four overseas-player limit,the SRH dropped the Australian and even though it seemed harsh, the decision only looked logical.
Rashid Khan is undroppable in the SRH lineup and even in their worst-ever start to the season, the leg-spinner’s performances remain consistent as ever. He has taken 10 wickets in the season so far, and at the end of the first leg, he was among the top-5 wicket-takers. With Jonny Bairstow as wicketkeeper-batsman and Kane Williamson as captain, Warner’s exclusion was the only possible outcome.
What next for Warner?
It is difficult to ascertain Warner’s current form as the Australian is yet to play a competitive game since IPL 2021. However, the left-handed batsman has had enough time to recollect himself and start afresh.
With SRH opener and wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow pulling out of the second leg of IPL 2021, Warner remains favourite to fill one of the two overseas slots. He may not return as captain but the Aussie does have a lot to offer; maybe, with the burden of leadership relieved off his shoulders, the second leg of IPL 2021 witnesses a return of the Warner we know.
The IPL 2021 also acts as a precursor to the T20 World Cup, which will also take place in the United Arab Emirates. With no T20 international action under his belt since November last year, Warner will be aiming to seize this opportunity with SRH and return to the Aussie camp with strong credentials.