David Warner would love to bring down the curtain on his incredible Test cricket career in front of his home fans at the SCG, during the New Year's series against Pakistan. That much is clear after the veteran Aussie batter dropped a retirement bombshell on the cricket world in England, ahead of his side's World Test Championship (WTC) final against India next week.
Warner will regain his spot at the top of the order for the Test showpiece against India, starting on Wednesday at The Oval in London. He then hopes to play through the Ashes and the first three Tests of the home summer against Pakistan, before bowing out in the New Year's fixture in Sydney.
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That's the plan but the 36-year-old understands the brutal nature of cricket and the notion that sentimentality takes a back seat to success at the top echelons of the sport. Warner - whose Test spot has been under intense scrutiny for some time - admits it will only be runs in the WTC final against India and the Ashes series against England that will allow him to bow out of Test cricket on his terms.
"If I get through this and I can make the Pakistan series, I'll definitely finish up," Warner told reporters in England. "I've always played every game as if it's my last. It's my style of cricket.
"I just keep working as hard as I can to get to there. It starts this Test against India and I'm just looking forward to that challenge and then the challenge that presents itself against England."
If Warner maintains his spot in Australia's team and retires in Sydney, he will finish as the country's 10th-most capped Test player with 112 to his name. If Warner is to play nine more Tests for Australia, the brutal reality for the opener is he will need to improve on his showing from the 2019 Ashes series when he managed just 95 runs at an average of 9.5.
England quick Stuart Broad removed Warner a staggering seven times in that horror Ashes series for the opener. His recent figures don't make for much better reading, with Warner making just the solitary triple-figure score in his 32 Test innings since January 2020.
Warner's retirement from Tests will form part of a staggered exit from international cricket, with the opener planning on retiring from one-day cricket after this year's 50-over World Cup in India. Next year's Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean and USA would then mark his last international tournament but like his Test retirement plans, Warner knows it's dependent on a simple principle.
"You've got to score runs. I've always said the World Cup would probably be my final game," Warner said. "We've got a lot of cricket before that, and then I think it stops from February.
"I'll have to play obviously IPL, some of the other franchise leagues and then get into that rhythm to play in June. "There will be a bit of cricket around to play."
David Warner unfazed by 2019 Ashes struggles
Coach Andrew McDonald indicated last week Warner would play a role in the Ashes, suggesting he will suit up at Edgbaston for the first Test against England on June 16 after the WTC final. While that opening Ashes Test will likely be crucial to Warner's retirement plan, the 36-year-old denies the scars from 2019 will be weighing on his mind. Openers averaged 20.22 in that series across both teams, as Broad also wreaked havoc against Marcus Harris and Cameron Bancroft at the top for Australia.
"I look back and look at the dismissals and look at both opening pairs. That was a difficult time to bat," Warner added. "I looked at the 2019 Dukes ball compared to the 2023 ball, it's completely different as well.
"There was a higher pronounced seam back then ... It was hard to tackle. Once you got in the ball still moved around for for the 80 overs. It was difficult. There was nothing to do with any of my technique or anything."
Warner concedes he was too defensive in that infamous 2019 Ashes series and has vowed to play his natural game and attack England's seamers this time around. He says coming into Australia's Test schedule off the back of an IPL tournament where he was Delhi's leading scorer, has left him full of confidence.
"In that format, you have to look to score and I think that's held me in good stead for this preparation," Warner said. "Here I've actually been superb (in training). My feet have been moving, my energy has been moving. I've been up and about. It helps me more when I go from white-ball cricket to red ball because I'm in that mode of looking to score."
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