Warner urges 'Baby Bull' to maintain Test dream

Retired opener says protégé has capability to replace him in Aussie white-ball teams but hopes he keeps one eye on Baggy Green

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While David Warner believes the protégé he has dubbed 'Baby Bull' can replace him in Australia's white-ball teams, the now retired opener has also urged six-hitting sensation Jake Fraser-McGurk to maintain his Baggy Green aspirations.

The latest chapter in the Warner-Fraser-McGurk bromance, a photo of the pair drinking by the pool in St Lucia after Australia's T20 World Cup exit captioned by the veteran 'over to you champ', highlights how highly the retiring opener thinks of the emerging dynamo.

Warner sees similarities between his younger self and Fraser-McGurk, who looks likely to get considerable opportunities in the coming years to take on the new ball in Australia's T20 and ODI teams after the 37-year-old's exit from international cricket. 

David Warner's post the morning after his final international game // Instagram

Along with Matt Short, Fraser-McGurk shadowed the Australian squad in the Caribbean. Warner was a regular companion off the field to the youngster who he also mentored in the ILT20 and the Indian Premier League at the Dubai and Delhi Capitals respectively earlier this year.

Fraser-McGurk was even picked over him by Delhi coach Ricky Ponting for the Capitals' final game of the IPL season when a hand injury was hampering Warner. The 22-year-old took the tournament by storm having been a last-minute pick-up.

Although Warner was hesitant to anoint him when speaking to reporters during the tournament, he insisted Fraser-McGurk is capable of filling his shoes in limited-overs cricket.

"Every time I put something out there I become a selector (but) I think he’s definitely got the ability to definitely do that," Warner said.

"He can lock it in. And a bit like myself, you (have to learn) how to play … 50 over cricket. That's one thing that I learnt from Twenty20. I got dropped after seven games because I didn’t really understand how to play the game of one-day cricket.

"So from a one day perspective if he learns that and understands that he’ll have a fantastic career, especially batting in Australia. Best wickets in the world."

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But both Warner and Fraser-McGurk acknowledge the younger dasher is yet to show his readiness to play Test cricket.

Where Warner averaged 60 in first-class cricket when he made his Test debut in 2011, Fraser-McGurk has averaged just 18.96 from 16 Sheffield Shield matches.

The Melbourne-born batter left Victoria for South Australia for greater opportunities in the longest format at the beginning of the 2022-23 season. He smashed a record-breaking 29-ball Marsh Cup ton and hit a century against his former state, but otherwise struggled and conceded the Redbacks' experiment using him as an opener in first-class cricket was a failure.

"Last year when I was put up to open the batting in Shield cricket, that's not me … it was torture. That's one thing I won't be able to do," Fraser-McGurk said to laughter on's Unplayable Podcast during the tournament.

"Traditionalists have a go saying, 'Why don't you want to play Test cricket?' I never said I didn't want to. Everyone wants to.

"Obviously everyone wants to but it's just what opportunities will come and also am I going to be able to get that opportunity? I haven't had a great Shield career to date – hopefully that changes.

"But my career started turning around when I was focusing on the white ball … it's something to work on."

Fraser-McGurk's chances to do that will become slimmer as overseas T20 leagues come calling, not to mention the likelihood he will miss long stretches of the Shield season if he seizes a permanent spot in Australia's white-ball teams.

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But Warner hopes Fraser-McGurk sticks at it.

"It reminds me a little bit of myself when I was a young kid," Warner said. "Enjoys his life, takes cricket seriously, but there’s a lifestyle to that as well. I just want him to keep embracing that.

"Times have changed from when I first started with all these social media things, so hopefully doesn’t read too much into that, just sticks to what he knows best – that’s scoring runs, and that’s the biggest currency you can (have) is score runs.

"Will he play Test cricket? I think he'll have to have a breakout year in the next 12-18 months to prove himself. I think we've all had to score hundreds to get your name up there (to) warrant that.

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"Hopefully when it comes to Shield cricket this year, he sticks at that. There's going to be a lot of money thrown around to him for these Twenty20 leagues and it's upon him and his management to keep him focused and aligned with what he wants to do.

"As an Australian, it can be disappointing that some guys don't want to aspire to the Baggy Green, but sometimes people just don't have that aspiration, or they think that they're not good enough.

"But I hope he does – I know he's thinking like that. He wants to play red-ball cricket."