When I saw Warner, I was convinced he would be better in Tests: Virender Sehwag

Virender Sehwag and David Warner formed one of the most formidable opening duos in the Indian Premier League (IPL). The aggressive Australian batter represented the Delhi Daredevils (now Delhi Capitals) between 2009-2013 before shifting base to Hyderabad. He returned to Delhi in 2022 and led the team in 2023, in the absence of Rishabh Pant.

During his first stint at Delhi, the southpaw formed great camaraderie with Sehwag. The opener recently recalled that he told Warner he would go on to do better in Tests than in T20Is. Warner had just made his debuts in ODIs and T20Is at that point but was nowhere in contention for a Test call-up.

“When David Warner came to play for Delhi Daredevils in IPL 2009, he’d just made his T20I and ODI debuts. But the way he used to bat and hit the ball, I could see he had all the talent and the control you need in a Test batter. But what happens for a young player like him is that you don’t have the confidence that you have the skills to play Test cricket. When I saw him, I was convinced that he would be better in Tests than he even is in T20 cricket. I shared this view with him, and he started laughing,” Sehwag told Cricbuzz.

“He said, ‘I am so far away from Test cricket and in Australia it’s so difficult to break into the Test team to start with.’ I told him, ‘You will enjoy it. It’s made for you. In Test cricket, you have a powerplay throughout the day. In T20 cricket the powerplay only lasts for 20 overs.’ He started laughing and said, ‘Then I’ll certainly enjoy it’. Later, he went on to play Tests for Australia and messaged me saying he was so happy that I’d said that to him. I wished him well saying, ‘Hope you break all my records.’ And I think he’s close to breaking all my records as opener. Except the strike-rate,” Sehwag added.

‘Just the way he used to bat in the nets’ – Virender Sehwag on when he felt that David Warner would do well in Test cricket

Sehwag was asked what made him feel that Warner could succeed in red-ball cricket. The ‘Nawab of Najafgarh’ said that Warner’s approach of treating anything outside the off-stump as boundary balls caught his attention, irrespective of the format.

“Just the way he used to bat in the nets or the way he scored a few 20s and 30s in that IPL, that’s when I started thinking about him as a Test cricketer. There is a big difference between white ball and red ball. But it’s all about your approach. If you are a player like Warner who believes that room outside off-stump is the same in both the shorter and longer formats of the game, and that you can hit that ball for a boundary, then you will enjoy Test cricket even more. Because you get to do it more often. That’s when I felt like I should share my thoughts with him. He laughed it off but then once he did make it, he was the one who told the media that Virender Sehwag was the one who had said it first,” he said.

Warner is playing the third and final Test match between Australia and Pakistan in Sydney. This is the last Test appearance for the 37-year-old. Sehwag lavished praise on Warner for his ability to hit the good balls for boundaries.

“Most players at the highest level have a good defence. Keeping the good ball out is a skill you expect all of them to have. But batters who are most successful are the ones who have the knack of turning them into opportunities to hit fours and sixes. David Warner has always had that. He always stood out as a result. He could always hit the good ball for a boundary. And being a left-hander, the right-arm bowlers had to constantly change their angles to stop him scoring or get him out, creating more opportunities. He never let them settle. He had the rare ability to block six good balls but also hit those six balls for boundaries,” Sehwag stated.