Australia coach Darren Lehmann doesn’t know whether David Warner will turn a leaf from his current avatar of ‘Reverend’ to ‘Bull’ in time for the Ashes, but is hopeful that it doesn’t affect his flow of runs and the support he provides to skipper Steve Smith. The Australian opener has switched from his aggressive style to more calm attitude that has earned him the nickname of ‘Reverend’.
“Whichever way (Warner) decides to go, he’ll go – he’s his own man,” Lehmann told cricket.com.au. “Bull, Reverend, Bull, Reverend, I don’t know which one turns up, but the main thing for him is that he leads well. He helps Steven (Smith) out as vice-captain, which he will do, and makes runs. If he decides to get stuck into their players, which I’m sure he will at various stages, that will come back both ways.”
With the Ashes scheduled to start on November 23, Warner has hinted that he may wind up the clock and turn up the intensity against the reigning Ashes holders England. “I might wind the clock back a little bit,” Warner told cricket.com.au. “You might see some more aggression, a bit of banter, I might push the boundaries a little bit. Sometimes you know where the line is, sometimes you want to cross it. We’ll have to wait and see.”
Lehmann expects things to stay within the limits even as Warners’ likening of the Ashes to “war” was termed “pathetic” by former England captain Marcus Trescothick. However, Lehmann believes these players can keep the banter going without getting personal.
“It’s going to be a fiery series at different times but they all know each other reasonably well because they play so much cricket with and against each other these days,” Lehmann said. “As long as it doesn’t go personal, and no-one will go down that path, but I’m sure our boys will give as good as they get.”
Australia are overwhelming favourites to win the series and continue their dominance at home having won two of the past three editions by a 5-0 margin. Lehmann said there are some England players who would get the stick more than the rest. “Certainly different players, very much so,” he said. “That’s just having the advantage of playing at home. The crowd gets behind you and it’s amazing what the crowd can do. The 25 million people (in Australia) and all the people coming to the games, they’re just as big a player as the 11 playing on the ground.”
Warner did lament the extent to which the game has been softened with the usage of stump microphones and big fines for stepping the line. “Given today’s nature of the game with stump mics and everything, I think it’s taken the edge out of it a little bit,” he added. “Everyone can lip read … you’ve got to be careful about what you say. Has it taken the banter and the aggression a bit out of the game? I think it has.”
“I’d love to see that aggression out there. Even if you stare at batsman these days it’s frowned upon. I like that competitiveness. I love that if you play and miss the bowler comes down and stares at me. You like staring (back at) them. You say, ‘Alright, you’re on, and I’m on, too’. I don’t want cricket to get away from that. I think that’s what the fans want,” he added.