Two words David Warner says before every Test innings for Australia

Before his final Test innings for Australia at the SCG this week, David Warner will follow a familiar routine.

He will touch the plaque that commemorates late Aussie cricketer Phil Hughes, walk past the fans and then drop to his knees on the field and perform a final stretch of his back.

And then Warner will turn to fellow opener Usman Khawaja and utter the two words he says every time they walk out together to bat – “Inshallah Mashallah”.

Khawaja became the first Muslim to play for Australia when he made his debut in the 2011 Sydney Test and Warner is full of respect for his fellow left-hander’s beliefs.

He went as far as to say it was a “joke” that Marnus Labuschagne was allowed to have a “religious sticker on his bat” after Khawaja was blocked from displaying a dove symbol on his bat and shoes.

In an interview with Channel 7’s Trent Copeland ahead of the start of day one of this year’s SCG Test, Warner spoke about the moment he shared with Khawaja before each innings.

“To be honest, not a lot goes through your mind when you’re walking (out to bat),” Warner said.

“It is more going past the fans, embracing that and hoping that I can entertain. We might share a giggle, me and Uzzie. In the past I’ve done that with a few other players, but it’s all down here when you reach the turf, and you look around and we do a final couple of stretches – usually I get on my knees, stretch my back a bit and then we look at each other, glove punch and I always say to Uzzie, with his background, I always say ‘Inshallah Mashallah’ before we go out. It’s something that I have always respected with him, and he always has a giggle back to me when I say it.”

The two-word phrase, rooted in Arabic, holds a profound meaning. “Mashallah” translates to “God has willed it,” expressing acknowledgment that something good has happened in the past. “Inshallah” means “if God has willed,” referring to a future event.

Warner’s former IPL teammate at Sunrisers Hyderabad, spinner Rashid Khan, has previously mentioned how the opening batsman used the same language with him.

Posting to Twitter/X in 2019, Rashid said: “We are already missing you it was an absolutely pleasure to play together again and one thing I will miss a lot while you were telling me in ground MASHALLAH and INSHALLAH.”

In the interview with Copeland on Wednesday, Warner expressed the importance of soaking up the atmosphere before entering the arena.

“You’re ready to battle. But you really soak up what’s around you. I have always treated every game as my last, and I have absolutely thoroughly enjoyed walking out there playing for Australia,” he shared.

Reflecting on the history and camaraderie within the dressing room, Warner stated: “Sitting here in this dressing room looking out towards the ground there, the history that is inside this change room, what’s come before us from numerous different sports, it’s surreal.

“I still pinch myself today that I get to come out here and play cricket for Australia.

“NSW is where it all started, but I still pinch myself about to walk out there for the last time as I said.”

When asked about his family’s presence in the stands, Warner explained their seating arrangement and shared the challenges of being away from them during significant life events.

“They usually sit in the bottom tier in one of the boxes for day one. And day two usually up the top of the O’Reilly Stand. I’m always conscious when I walk out as my safeguard, so when they’re with me, and I’m away, I always try and spot them. Once I know where they are I’m good to go,” he said.

“They mean the world. You can’t play this sport without your most loyal supporters.”

“The sacrifices that are made by Candice, by my kids, me not being there for significant milestones whether it is birthdays, holy communions and most importantly, my wife’s birthday. I don’t think I have been home for a birthday. So, she’ll get that soon, but it means a lot. Her support has been outstanding and it’s something I don’t really want to get into detail too much before the game. I will get there at the back end.”

As the conversation shifted towards his legacy, Warner highlighted the importance of authenticity and staying true to one’s beliefs on the field.

“I think most importantly is the way that I took the game on. I think that’s the most important thing. I think coming from Twenty20 cricket, I have been authentic, I have stuck by what my beliefs are on the field, and I have gone out and delivered to the best of my ability.

“If any child out there, girl or boy, striving for greatness, just back yourself. Have a simple plan. Go out there and just hit that ball or bowl that ball or take that catch that wins that match. And just be brave. That’s all I want.”

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