WTC final: Dravid refuses to take Warner lightly despite batter's poor form

Warner heads into the WTC final with one century in his past 32 innings and a mediocre record in England

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Australian batter David Warner has been struggling for form. — PTI
Australian batter David Warner has been struggling for form. — PTI


Published: Mon 5 Jun 2023, 9:19 PM

India coach Rahul Dravid said on Monday there was more to dismissing Australia's David Warner in this week's World Test Championship (WTC) final than employing the tactics England's Stuart Broad used so successfully during the 2019 Ashes.

Warner has been one of the outstanding opening batsmen of his generation, with the 36-year-old having scored 8,158 runs at an average of 45.57, including 25 hundreds, in 103 Tests.

But he heads into the WTC final and ensuing five-match Ashes series with one century in his past 32 innings and a mediocre record in England.

During the 2-2 drawn Ashes series in England four years ago, he averaged under 10 and seven times fell victim to Broad, mainly bowling from around the wicket to the left-hander.


"He (Warner) is a class player. It's not as simple as just turning up and bowling round the wicket and getting him out," Dravid told reporters at the Oval ahead of the showdown, which begins on Wednesday.

"He wouldn't have played a hundred times if it was that simple."

The former India batsman added: "There's nowhere to hide any more, everyone has very similar information about each other. It's just how you counter that.

"Every batsman will have areas they're strong at and areas that are not probably their strengths, and David has been very successful.

"We know it's a very important wicket to get early on."

This is just the second WTC final with India having been beaten by New Zealand in the inaugural 2021 showpiece in Southampton.

Australia and India qualified by coming first and second in the standings at the end of a two-year Test cycle.

Dravid added: "It's been two years of hard work to get here. It's something you aspire to be in the top two teams so you get an opportunity to play this game."

But this year's final takes place against a backdrop of growing concern for the future of Test cricket.

The booming popularity of the Indian Premier League has sparked the growth of a series of franchise Twenty20 competitions around the world, crowding out room in the calendar for the five-day game in many nations.

"Every time you play for your country you always want to win, but I really hope it (the WTC) will encourage a lot more teams to potentially play a lot more Test cricket," said Dravid, a veteran of 164 Tests.

"I know it's complicated, there are reasons why that's probably not happening in terms of time and finances, but personally at least I'd like to see a lot more Test cricket being played."

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