‘Daunting prospect’: Why Warner’s 2019 nightmare has no bearing on Ashes

There are not many players in the world who can unsettle Pat Cummins. David Warner is one of them.

As state and national teammates, the pair rarely locks horns in games but Cummins’ assessment of the dynamic opener’s fear factor in the nets highlights the difficulty England face in taming the man known as ‘The Bull’ on Australian soil.

“I know bowling to him in the nets he’s one of those batters that if you get it just wrong he can really make you pay,” Cummins, the world’s No.1 ranked bowler, said. “That’s a daunting prospect for any bowler when he’s on.”

It is now part of Ashes folklore that Stuart Broad reduced Warner to a walking wicket in 2019, but the stage is set for the Australian to exact revenge in the conditions he knows so well.

On the fast and bouncy tracks of Australia, Warner is a colossus. Of the top 30 run-scorers on these shores, only Don Bradman and Steve Smith average more than his 63.2. Hall of Famers Ricky Ponting, Greg Chappell and Steve Waugh are among those in his wake.

David Warner had a poor Ashes in 2019, but Pat Cummins says that will not be a firm guide on his prospects this summer.Credit:Getty Images

His 18 centuries at home place him third alongside Bradman, and by the end of this series he should overtake Michael Clarke into the top five for most runs in Australia.

As of Tuesday night, it was not clear if Broad would be there at the Gabba to reacquaint himself with Warner, but should the two meet again England’s pantomime villain will find a much different adversary to the one he reduced to a tentative mess two years ago.

Dismissed seven times by Broad, Warner managed just 95 runs, the lowest by an opener in a Test series with at least 10 innings. Cummins, however, has warned sceptics against reading too much into those numbers for this summer.

A better guide, Cummins said, was the 786 runs he pounded against Pakistan and New Zealand just months after his lean run in the Ashes.

“I don’t look at his series record over in England as a great look into this summer – totally different conditions, really tough for opening batters in England, I wouldn’t look too far into that,” Cummins said.

“He came back a couple of months later and had his best summer yet for Australia against New Zealand and Pakistan. I think the way he really took it to the attack, batted a long time was a huge reason we won all those Tests that summer.”

Even during Warner’s lean spells, he retains a swagger, chiding those who say he is out of form that he is instead out of runs. His confidence should be high after a Twenty20 Cup campaign in which he started with question marks over his place in the side only to finish as the player of the tournament.

“[He’s a] huge player for us. He’s coming off a huge World Cup, he looks in great touch, he’s in a really good place,” Cummins said. “He’s been great for over a decade for Australia, so I’d expect he’d be in for a big summer.”

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