Australian opener David Warner vowed Monday to keep his temper in check during the upcoming series against India, predicting Virat Kohli’s men will try to wind him up with verbal taunts. Warner once revelled in his reputation as Australia’s attack dog during on-field confrontations but said he had toned down his antics as he matured. The 34-year-old expected some barbs to be thrown his way during the upcoming India tour, which begins with a one-day international in Sydney on Friday, but said he would let his bat do the talking.
“The last time we toured in India they really engaged us like that,” he told a conference call.
“We’re learning over time, especially myself, that if you look not to engage in that you’re almost reversing the effect by ignoring it, trying to take it in, and using your bat.”
Warner said he planned to use any taunts as motivation, while refusing to retaliate in kind and maintaining a positive attitude.
“You don’t know the effect (losing your temper) will have on your teammates, so you have to be a bit more humble and be more respectful to the opposition,” he said.
Warner’s milder approach appears to coincide with his return from a ban over the 2018 ball-tampering scandal, although the batsman attributed the laid-back demeanour to fatherhood.
“You have to be patient, not get too aggressive, not get angry when the kids aren’t listening,” he said.
“So I’m getting tested on and off the field.”
Warner also backed his out-of-form Test partner Joe Burns, who faces a stiff challenge from rising star Will Pucovski for a spot at the top of the batting order against India.
“I’ve spent a lot of time with Joe Burns in the middle, I know exactly what we’re about when we’re out there,” he said.
“Obviously, we won a lot of games last year. So for me, you don’t break something that’s actually working.”
Test greats such as Michael Clarke, Ian Chappell and Mark Waugh have been clamouring for Pucovski’s inclusion after the 22-year-old plundered back-to-back double centuries for Victoria.
Warner acknowledged Pucovski’s claims but said Burns, 31, “did not to anything wrong” to warrant dropping him for the first Test in Adelaide next month.
“Will is an exceptional talent and [will be] a great player for years to come,” he said.
Australia and India will play three one-dayers, three Twenty20 matches and four Tests during the tour.
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