TAUNTON, ENGLAND – Australia batsman David Warner was a happy man after returning to something like his best form with a century to lead his team to victory over Pakistan at the Cricket World Cup on Wednesday.
Warner, recently back on the side after serving a 12-month suspension for his role in last year’s ball-tampering scandal, had struggled for fluency in the early games of the tournament.
“To come out here play the way I know I can play was awesome,” the 32-year-old left-hander told a news conference. “I was elated.”
Warner said he had been worried about performing with the bat after returning to the Australia side following his suspension.
“There was always that going through my mind,” he said. “And I think that’s what drove me to keep being as fit as I can, keep scoring as many runs as I can in the Twenty20 tournaments that I was playing in.
“I was always coming back to international cricket if selected.
“The thing that kept me going was my wife and my kids. Got great support at home, my family. And my wife is just, she’s just my rock. She’s unbelievable. She’s determined, disciplined, selfless.”
Warner said he trained extremely hard during his time away from the game.
“I think going through those tough times and sort of regrouping with myself to put myself in the best position to come back to international cricket, I did everything I could,” he said.
“I really, really knuckled down and trained my backside off.”
Warner was disappointed to get out for 107 against Pakistan and his dismissal sparked a late-order collapse as the defending champions were dismissed for 307, a solid but not commanding total.
“Seventy balls to go. And with the weather, trying to build partnerships again, I probably hold responsible for the way we fell apart there,” Warner said.
A few boos were heard from fans at Taunton, but Warner was not concerned.
“At the end of the day we’re out there to do a job,” he said. “And for me it’s just trying to score runs and have a lot of energy in the field. It’s water off a duck’s back. I’ve heard it my whole career. Actually it eggs us on a lot and makes us knuckle down and try to score more runs if anything.”
The Australians, seeking a sixth World Cup triumph, have won three of their first four games of the tournament and Warner said the atmosphere around the squad was very positive.
“We’ve got a great sort of group harmony, a lot of smiles on the faces as you can see in a lot of the training sessions and out in the field,” he said. “So, look, I’m pumped.”