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We will deeply feel the absence of David Warner and his dynamic villainous presence in cricket. He added a touch of grandeur to the sport.

The greatest antagonists in dramas are those who are unaware of their villainous nature; they may even surprise us by becoming heroes.

Satan in Paradise Lost, for example, who sees himself less as the embodiment of all human evil, more a kind of underdog freedom fighter, Che Guevara with hooves.

In Die Hard, we recall Hans Gruber, who remains steadfast in his belief that he is the true protagonist of this situation. He sees it as a clever and sophisticated outsider executing a harmless robbery on wealthy American capitalists who are high on cocaine, with the only obstacle being a ruthless cop in a tank top.

In the world of sports, where opinions are often divided into extreme black and white, there are instances where things may not be so clear and roles can become blurred. It is difficult to express this, but as David Warner prepares for his final season at home, it feels like the appropriate time to acknowledge that actively despising him, focusing on his mistakes and villainous persona, has always felt somewhat uncomfortable and contrived.

I have feelings for him. You may also have feelings for him in secret. That is okay. This is a non-judgmental environment. Although, there may be some judgment present, as Warner has always been portrayed as the villain in sports.

No cricketer has ever been so relentlessly barracked (racism reasons aside) on an English cricket field. No elite player has been banned for a year for bang-to-rights on-field cheating and then just carried on at the same level. Warner has even begun to consciously embrace the whiskery, snickering cartoon-dog aesthetic. He looks evil – and looks, optics, snapshots, are of course the most important thing.

However, with Warner’s departure from Test cricket, we must acknowledge that we will also miss him. He brought a sense of grandeur and importance to the sport. Despite his rough start, he proved to be a great player in all formats and a driving force in preserving the significance of Test cricket. He may have even been considered a hero.

This situation calls for a sudden interruption, which needs to be clarified immediately. Later on, I will dismiss premeditated cheating as not being a serious offense. But for now, I enjoyed watching Warner play against Pakistan this week on the old, faded TV images that were transmitted from Perth to the dark English December. The setting was filled with rich greens and bright white light, and the bowlers were overly excited by the bouncy and fast pitch. And as usual, it was a yearly event to see Warner aggressively hit his way to a century against the current visiting team.

Channel 7 has already centered its promotions on the concept of a team’s homecoming, highlighting their maturity and a bittersweet farewell to their underappreciated champion opener. Warner’s impressive score of 100 in Perth perfectly sets the stage for a Christmas exhibition at the MCG and a final goodbye in Sydney.

Australia’s David Warner batting in the 2023 Ashes

Everything that is usually seen was present. Warner is not a visually impressive batter. He has three main techniques: the offside slap, the swat-drive, and the pull. He can be compared to Alastair Cook on performance-enhancing drugs. In one instance, he hit the part-time off-spinner over wide long-on with the strength of someone hitting a conker over a group of trees with a frying pan. Later, he executed a fantastic falling-over hook-paddle for a six, even looking in the opposite direction and already smiling as he fell backwards.

After the press conference, there was some heated discussion about the “shush” celebration, with mentions of “touching on the shush” and talks about shushes, grudges, and etiquette. We can expect to hear from more ordinary cricket players in the future, such as Jayden Goodbloke who is known for making self-aware jokes and does not appear to be driven by anger or an unhealthy fixation on the symbolism of a green hat. But for now, let us cherish the final memorable summer of Dave.

Maybe to summarize the list of offenses. Most recently, Warner has been charged by Mitchell Johnson with making the summer all about himself and his privileged retirement, allegations that only hold weight if you already have a bias against Warner and/or recently received an impolite text from him.

Warner’s performance has been average, but it meets the minimum standard. It is possible to evaluate his overall career statistics. Some have claimed that he performs better at home, averaging 58 in Australia compared to 31 overseas. However, Warner is a versatile player in the modern era, excelling in all formats rather than just certain conditions. He has an average of 45 in Test matches and has been named player of a T20 World Cup as well as an ODI world champion. Opening is a difficult position, but Warner has proven to excel in it.

Unfortunately, there are also negative aspects to consider. Warner played a major role in the sandpaper scandal. However, there are some peculiar elements at play here as well. The Australian bowlers have consistently claimed that they were unaware of Warner’s actions and that he was acting alone in attempting to create reverse swing without informing the others who would actually need to adjust their lengths and handle the ball properly.

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It is peculiar that Warner would have engaged in such behavior. A piece of advice for those who may do the same in the future: inform the bowlers or it will not be successful. However, it must be accurate because despite facing significant financial losses, Warner has never revealed any wrongdoing by others or suggested a larger scheme, and has simply accepted his severe punishment.

There was an additional element involved in this situation. It was a unique type of cheating, known as team cheating. Warner did not gain any runs, personal recognition, financial gain, or extended time at the crease through his actions. He cheated in order to help his teammates secure wickets. Is there a more honorable form of cheating? It is possible, but if there is, this would likely be it.

What other actions has he taken? He has displayed rude and foolish behavior on the playing field. One night, while intoxicated after Australia’s loss in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston, he punched Joe Root, who was joking around near his table. This was not a good decision.

Warner is known for being articulate and engaging during press conferences, and his personality in real life is far from the stereotypical thug or doofus. I remember the first time I saw him in person at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium, standing on a table and addressing a crowd of at least 500 people after scoring his first century in professional cricket for Delhi Daredevils. It was clear that he had great talent and potential for the future.

He has proven himself to be an integral part of Test cricket and the Ashes. Warner, who was not considered traditional, was initially seen as a modern player from the future. However, he has shown that he values the traditional elements of the game such as the sense of magnitude, diverse characters, and captivating drama. He will be greatly missed in these realms.

Channel 7 aired a comical yet serious four-minute commercial before the Pakistan series, implying that one cannot truly be Australian without a love for Test cricket (the World Cup rights now belong to Amazon). The ad also touched on the upcoming summer season in a bold, melancholic manner, as if mourning the loss of a beloved pet.

Warner’s departure will impact the Test season, which is already shrinking. In today’s sports world, there are many unsavory characters, ranging from Tom Harrison to Aramco. Despite his imperfections, Warner has a unique sense of integrity, even as a villain. Will anyone ever be able to fill that void again?

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Source: theguardian.com