Before he blasted a second-straight World Cup century, David Warner‘s Test teammate Nathan Lyon said Australian cricket may not fully realise the ‘massive hole’ that will need to be filled when the veteran opener hangs up his helmet.
Warner has already declared the upcoming Test series against Pakistan in Australia will be his last, and despite questions about holding his place in the team for those three matches after a lean Ashes, his ODI World Cup run spree should guarantee he gets the send-off he was hoping for.
But with his 37th birthday arriving on Friday in India, Warner’s time in the Australian white-ball teams is also closer to the end, with the 2024 T20 World Cup potentially his national swan song.
That idea moved Lyon to declare Warner among Australia’s ‘greatest’ white-ball batters and suggested replacing him could be more difficult than selectors would like to imagine.
‘I don’t think we’re going to realise the effect that David’s had on Cricket Australia until he’s retired and the massive hole that is left,’ Lyon told SEN Radio.
Nathan Lyon has declared David Warner will leave a ‘massive hole’ once he eventually retires (pictured, celebrating his century against the Netherlands)
It follows the 36-year-old blasting another century at the ODI World Cup, this time against the Netherlands
‘His numbers are absolutely incredible….Davey would be (the best) but if not definitely up there as the greatest white-ball batter for Australia, that’s for sure.’
Warner’s 6729 ODI runs now include six World Cup centuries – the second-most ever behind India’s Rohit Sharma – and come with significant records.
He’s the oldest Australian ever to make a World Cup hundred, and he holds the three-highest Australian scores at the tournament.
Warner smashed 178 against Afghanistan in Perth in 2015, 166 against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge in 2019, and his rampaging 163 against Pakistan last weekend was his third score in excess of 150.
While his 104 off 93 balls against the Netherlands was rather pedestrian in comparison to Glenn Maxwell’s world record 40-ball century, it was Warner’s second in a row as he once again propelled his team to a winning score.
It was more proof of Warner’s ongoing capacity to impact when it matters, and he declared the World Cup was what he ‘lives for’.
‘It so happens to be in live play and in tournament play and that’s what I get up for,’ Warner told Star Sports after being informed he went past Sachin Tendulkar and Ricky Ponting in the list of all-time World Cup century makers.
‘We live for those World Cups. They are every four years and you’ve got to really, really shine on this stage.
David Warner now has six World Cup centuries to his name. Picture: Arun Sankar / AFP
Lyon also believes Warner is ‘up there as the greatest ever white-ball batters for Australia’
‘To be in the same category and class with those guys is special.
‘They are greats of the game. For us, we grew up watching those guys.
‘In this moment, we’re just staying present. In probably 20 years time or 30 years time, I might sit down and enjoy that.’
Warner said he was building into the tournament, having come in cold with no cricket since the Ashes, and the runs were flowing as his team turned its fortunes around with three straight wins.
‘I think the first game against India in Chennai was always going to be challenging, it is a challenging surface,’ he said.
‘And I didn’t feel like I was in great rhythm, and then on to Lucknow (against South Africa), which was a great wicket but my timing wasn’t there and the ball was sort of swinging, so for me it was about going back to basics and being nice and still.
‘I know I’ve got the ability to play on these wickets and in these conditions. It’s just about backing yourself and having control and batting those 50 overs.’
Australia will play its next game against New Zealand in Dharamsala on Saturday.