David Warner has gone from Raging Bull to the Reverend but can still give England a mighty sledge-hammering with the bat

SunSport’s ex-Aussie bowler says the big-hitting star with the loud mouth is now a calm family man – but the tourists might not have a prayer if he hits form


RUNNING with bulls in Spain is certainly not on my bucket list.

It’s not the clothing. I have no issue with the traditional attire of white pants and white shirt.

Hey, I rocked that gear for eight years bowling into the breeze in the Aussie cricket team.

It’s the little fact of a 1,000kg bull rampaging at me and safety being 875 metres away. You are under the pump big time trying to survive long enough to get to the finishing line.

In cricketing terms, it’s like bowling to explosive Aussie David Warner — nickname the Bull — at the Gabba when he’s in full flight. That’s another thing definitely not on my bucket list.

I first saw Dave in my role as Australian Under-19 coach at our cricket academy while I was watching the Under-19 Championship in Melbourne.

The young cricketers who stood out were the classy Usman Khawaja, all-rounder Moises Henriques, the powerful Aaron Finch, but most of all a New South Wales No 6 who went after the bowling and found the boundary frequently.

He bowled handy leg-spinners and was probably the best fielder in the tournament too.

That young man was David Warner. The word from the NSW camp was the youngster from the downtrodden Housing Commission flats at Matraville, Sydney, played his shots on and off the field.

When he burst on the Twenty20 scene, smashing a swashbuckling 89 off 43 balls against an experienced South African bowling attack led by Dale Steyn, many were happy to stamp him as a T20-only poster boy.

But I always admired his publicly-stated desire to wear the Baggy Green even when NSW could not find room for him in their Sheffield Shield team.

For a while he looked like being pigeon-holed as a one-hit wonder.

But he proved he had sustainability and, once given the chance to play red-ball cricket, he quickly progressed to the Test ranks and scored a thrilling 100 in only his second match.

Tons in a session followed by a similar amount of sledges in the field only magnified his nickname.

He was the raging Bull all right. He played hard and expected no quarters the other way. Then he changed. Warner acknowledged the incident with Joe Root in the 2013 Ashes when he clocked the now-England captain after a few beers was the catalyst to alter his ways.

Australia stars lark about in behind the scenes footage ahead of the Ashes on BT Sport

He was banished from the team as a result and did not like it.

Then his domestic life changed with marriage and kids. He was also handed the Aussie vice-captaincy.

The Bull had transformed into a non-drinking family man and a leader within his country’s cricket team.

This led to team-mates re-nicknaming him the ‘Reverend’ which prompted various preacher-like celebrations when he scored centuries. I don’t want to preach but Dave, this is The Ashes.

It’s starting this week in Brisbane, it’s the greatest sporting rivalry in sport and I have one request . . . please leave the Reverend in the hotel room on day one. Actually, for the whole series.

Once you cross the white line on to the Gabba outfield your country needs the Bull back. We want the fast-scoring, bowler-intimidating, opposition batsman-sledging Bull.

If you need inspiration, please YouTube the 1994-95 series and watch Michael Slater get us off to a flier.

You can treat this English attack of Anderson, Broady and Co to a bit of running with the Bull and tick it off their bucket list for them.

  • Damien Fleming played 20 Tests for Australia and took 75 wickets at 25.89. Twitter: @bowlologist

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