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Warner, like all top players, has an unquenchable thirst for success - Moody - Cricbuzz

IPL 2019

David Warner has stroked two fifties and a century in the first three matches

David Warner has stroked two fifties and a century in the first three matches © BCCI

Nerves aren't normally a David Warner thing but he was nervous, he admitted, and was drinking pickle juice before his first IPL game this season. It was still four days until the end of his ball-tampering ban but there he was in Kolkata, playing under Bhuvneshwar Kumar in a team he had led to glory in 2016. It was the start of a new reality for Warner, who had led in the GT20 and BPL recently but was no longer a captain in the IPL. And was never going to be one for Australia.

Barred from participation by the BCCI last year, Warner was also returning to IPL after missing his first full season since 2009, when he made his debut for the Delhi Capitals and played every season thereafter until 2018. "He has come back full of enthusiasm, full of determination, and with a lot to prove," Tom Moody, the head coach of SRH, said of Warner. "One thing David Warner -- and I think all top players are the same -- they have an unquenchable thirst for the game and to have success in the game. That thirst certainly hasn't been withdrawn by any means.

"Yes, he has had to sit out of top-flight cricket, international cricket for twelve months but David Warner has been preparing for six months for his comeback. He has played a couple of franchise tournaments over that 12-month period, he has obviously played club cricket in Sydney as well. Okay, it is not the same standard but he has been preparing mentally more than technically. His game technically is relatively sound, so it is just a case of getting himself sorted mentally."

Warner's first outing this season showed how nerves can be a good thing; they mean you care. He would make 85 off 53 balls against Kolkata at the Eden Gardens and then 69 off 37 against Rajasthan back home in Hyderabad, before going one better with an unbeaten 55-ball hundred in the last over against RCB. Since his return, SRH haven't lost a wicket in the powerplay and have gone on to compile three consecutive 100-run opening stands.

"I think the 12 months have done me well - I think I am refreshed," he said in a sideline mid-innings interview, his breath short and pads still on as he received his Orange Cap, which had come home to its most consistent trier.

"He has always had a very positive mindset," Moody said, reflecting on what's changed in 12 months for Warner. "He is (still) a very determined and resilient individual. I think to endure what he and Smith and Bancroft have had to endure over 12 months, there has to be a lot of mental toughness, there has to be a lot of resilience, and having also a very positive mindset because you can very easily find yourself down for long periods of time."

Though no longer a captain, Warner comes with years of captaincy wattage behind him, making him all the more indispensable at a time Hyderabad find Kane Williamson in and out of the side and his stand-in Bhuvneshwar Kumar gradually growing into his role.

"His leadership is always there and present," Moody said of Warner. "Someone that has his experience and his knowledge around captaincy but more importantly around playing IPL cricket is invaluable. David, like other players, plays an important role in supporting who the captain is at the time, whether it's Bhuvi or Kane. Everyone takes responsibility in ensuring that the leadership foundation is strong."

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