‘He loves the big stage’: David Warner ‘under zero pressure’ at T20 World Cup

Usman Khawaja has stated that David Warner is under “zero pressure” ahead of the T20 World Cup, weeks after Dehli Capitals coach Ricky Ponting dropped the Aussie’s first game following a poor run of results in the Indian Premier League.

Warner, who recently announced his retirement from the Test and ODI formats, has been replaced at the Capitals by fellow Australian Jake Fraser-McGurk after averaging 21 in the 2024 season, well below his career IPL average of 40.

As a result, many hoped that the 22-year-old Fraser-McGurk, who had the highest IPL strike rate of 236 this year, would make his way into Australia’s playing XI for this year’s T20 World Cup.

The Victorian has instead been named as a traveling reserve, meaning he will only be able to play if a member of the squad is forced to withdraw from the tournament.

While many believe the young shot’s form is an inevitable force of pressure on the 37-year-old veteran, Khawaja insisted that couldn’t be further from the truth as the Australian team prepare to kick off their campaign for the tournament, which will be held in the Caribbean and of the United States of America.

“I don’t think he’s under any pressure. I think he’s under zero pressure because he’s at the end of his career,” Khawaja told news.com.au.

“He can play how he wants, do what he wants, when he wants. I think he’s in a really good space, so I think he’ll be fine.”

This week, Warner scored 54 not out in Australia’s warm-up match against Namibia and was dismissed for 15 in the 35-run loss to the West Indies.

Khawaja expects Warner to make a comeback on the big stage this June as he enters the latter stages of his impressive career.

“You feel this will probably be Davey’s last T20 World Cup,” Khawaja said.

“And there’s nothing I’d like more than to see him hit his absolute peak and score a lot of runs.

“Yes, he has done it in the past, so it wouldn’t surprise me if he did it again in this tournament.

“But I’m an Aussie, I’m an unabashed Aussie rooter, so I just want the Aussies to win, I don’t really care how. But I think he’s proven over a long period of time that he can perform in these tournaments, and I expect him to perform again.”

Aussie off-spinner Ashton Agar said it was only natural that Warner was going through some trouble scoring but backed him to find his form in the World Cup.

“For someone who plays so much cricket, you’re going to have lean patches here and there,” Agar said.

“We all expect David to hit every innings because that’s the type of player he is, he’s been that good for so long.

“But all I know is that he likes to play in World Cups, he likes to have the big stage. If that happens, I think he’s going to have a really good World Cup again.”

Warner also seems unfazed by Fraser-McGurk’s rapid rise, with the young batsman recently telling the Willow Talk podcast that Warner has taken him under his wing and shown him the ropes in India, where the veteran is a bona fide star.

“I can’t complain about anything (Warner) has done, he’s helped me so much already,” Fraser-McGurk said.

Meanwhile, Khawaja, who is 37 the same age as his childhood friend Warner, insisted that age is no barrier when it comes to batting dominance in international cricket as he spoke about his own experience of making a comeback after being dropped from the Australian Test team in 2019 v named ICC Male Cricketer of the Year 2023.

“I know from experience that the older I get, the more I understand the game, it’s just about whether you can stay on the park when you’re older,” said Khawaja, the Prime Video World Cup T20 ambassador. .

“Can you go on day after day and play the game at the highest level? Can you mentally stay switched on at the highest level? And if you succeed, you can reap the rewards at the end of your career as well.

“So I think you’ll find that a lot of players score a lot of points in the latter part of their careers, but there are also those players who don’t stop scoring in the latter part like that.

“So I really don’t know, I’m blessed. I’m very grateful to be able to go there and play cricket because I thought my career in Australia was over three, four years ago. So now it’s all a bonus for me.”

Warner will get his first chance to find his form again when Australia begin their T20 World Cup campaign at the Kensington Oval in Barbados against Oman on June 6 (AEST).

Australia’s final T20 World Cup squad

Mitch Marsh (c), Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa. Traveling reserves: Jake Fraser-McGurk, Matt Short

This writer traveled to Trinidad for the Word Cup as a guest of Prime Video, the official broadcaster of the T20 World Cup.

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