David Warner ‘mentally as strong as ever’ ahead of international resumption

David Warner‘s long-time mentor Trent Woodhill believes the batsman remains fully motivated to continue across all formats of the game as he prepares to resume international cricket after a five-month break.

Speaking recently, Warner suggested that the hub and bio-secure lifestyle of cricket in the Covid-19-ridden era, and the likelihood it will keep players away from their families for long periods of time, could lead him to reconsider his workload.

Before Covid-19 brought cricket to a halt in early March, Warner gave a strong indication that he would consider moving aside from the T20 format after the back-to-back T20 World Cups, which had been originally scheduled for Australia this year and then India in 2021.

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However, the pandemic has forced a reshuffle, meaning the Australia event is in 2022, and if Warner wants another home World Cup, he would need to go beyond a 2021 cut-off.

“Mentally he’s a strong as ever and as bullish as ever,” Woodhill said from Australia’s base at the Ageas Bowl. “I haven’t been given any indication he’s not hungry for more runs across all formats.”

A year ago, Warner was in the midst of an Ashes series that would bring a record-breakingly low return of 95 runs – 61 of which came in one innings at Headingley – as he was dismissed by Stuart Broad seven times in 10 innings.

But the 2019-2020 season brought a prolific return to form across all formats: 786 runs runs in Test cricket at 131.00, 277 runs in ODIs at 46.16 and 415 runs at 138.33 in T20Is. It was enough to earn him the Allan Border Medal as the Men’s Player of the Year.

Woodhill took huge satisfaction from seeing how Warner responded to his travails in England, but the manner of the revival did not surprise him.

“He has amazing mental capacity to bounce back,” Woodhill said. “I was so proud of him with the 300 in Adelaide [against Pakistan] just because of that bouncing back from adversity. That’s champions worldwide, whether it’s someone I know or someone I don’t, it’s always great to see. David worked really hard after the Ashes to regroup and he came back firing. Watching him back the other day in the trial match he’s in a really good place with his cricket.

“I think when players reach early 30s, their game is about being consistent and the challenge is not short-cutting preparation and, if you watch David train, whether it’s from a skill set or physical standpoint, he doesn’t take any shortcuts.”

For Woodhill this tour is a return to the international coaching set-up for the first time since he worked for New Zealand in 2012. “Being back in international colours is really good, there’s a definite edge to it; the players’ focus is on one team rather than seven or eight teams is an enjoyable experience,” he said.

Warner made 42 off 35 balls in Australia’s first intersquad match of the tour on Friday before the contest was cut short by rain. They were due to play a 50-over match on Sunday before further inter-squad games early next week ahead of the opening T20I on Friday.

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