The cricket world has reacted with astonishment to a photo of Aussie opener David Warner walking through Delhi airport surrounded by armed guards. Warner once again failed to come good in the subcontinent having been dismissed for one and 10 in Australia's first Test humbling at the hands of India.
While he may be an opposition player and struggling for runs in the twilight of his career, Warner is undoubtedly loved in India. Warner is an all-time Indian Premier League great having scored 5,881 runs - the third most runs in history - across 162 matches during his time in the T20 tournament.
Warner's social media and affection for India has made him an extremely popular personality in the country. Australian captain Pat Cummins joked last week that Warner was more popular than Virat Kohli after the team witnessed fans swarm the opener as he arrived in the country ahead of the first Test.
And Warner has been greeted to another stunning scene in the cricket mad nation as he was escorted through Delhi airport surrounded by security, which was most likely to stop fans swarming the cricket great.
Warner was surrounded by at least 13 security guards with one of them armed with a gun. Warner posted the photo himself. Warner also posted a video of him sharing a smile with a security guard and some fans.
One fan took a cheeky dig at Warner after claiming he had more 'bodyguards than runs' during this series. While others were left gobsmacked at his reception. The photo had more than 400,000 likes in just a couple of hours.
— Louis Cameron (@LouisDBCameron) February 14, 2023
— Corbin Middlemas (@CorbinMiddlemas) February 14, 2023
Warner's warm welcome from the fans hasn't been reciprocated on the pitch. Following Warner's two cheap dismissals in Nagpur, the opener's average has dropped to 22.17 across 11 innings in India.
Ravi Ashwin has dismissed Warner 11 times across his career, which is second only to English quick Stuart Broad. Ravi Jadeja has taken Warner's wicket four times in India. Warner's poor run of form has some questioning whether he should be picked for the second Test. Calls are growing for Travis Head to open the batting or Matt Renshaw to move up the order.
Mitchell Johnson calls for David Warner call
There have been a number of names that have been thrown up to be dropped for the second Test and Warner's has been right in there. Aussie great Mitchell Johnson, in a column for the West Australian on Monday, said selectors need to make the tough call and drop Warner if they want a chance of winning the Border-Gavaskar trohpy.
“I would drop David Warner, elevate Matthew Renshaw to open and bring Travis Head into the middle order,” Johnson wrote. Johnson said Warner should have been left out of the first Test rather than Head, despite the latter's career average of 21 in Asia.
“If it’s about a horses for courses policy based on previous form in the subcontinent, why didn’t that apply to Warner?”, Johnson asked. “That’s where it got murky for me.”
Warner also struggled mightily during the Aussie summer, outside of his brilliant 200 against South Africa at the MCG. The double century broke a near two-year drought in which Warner had failed to make triple figures.
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