David Warner’s two-hour net session with champion batsman Ricky Ponting has national selector Mark Waugh confident the stand-in Australia T20 captain can reverse his lean run in white-ball cricket.
After coming off a record-breaking 2016 where he scored seven one-day international centuries, Warner has averaged 33.08 in 13 ODIs with just one triple-figure score in the past 12 months.
Couple those figures with just 20 runs in four T20 international innings over the same period and Warner is in a limited-overs funk.
On the eve of yesterday’s T20I against England in Hobart, Warner spent two hours in the nets receiving throwdowns from Ponting and the work appeared to pay off as the dynamic opener crunched his first two balls on Wednesday night.
While his first delivery found the straight boundary at Blundstone Arena, the second rocketed straight to Alex Hales at deep square-leg and he was caught for four off two balls.
But Waugh, Australia’s T20 selector, is backing Warner to bounce back given his prolific track record and his work with Ponting.
"I suppose stats-wise, yes," Waugh told Big Sports Breakfast when asked if he was worried about Warner.
"He’s had a run of outs and it’s impossible when you’re playing this much cricket across three formats to keep up a very high level.
"Last night he was unlucky … he hit that one straight to backward-square. But he’s that sort of player – he’ll look out of touch and then bang, he’ll hit a couple out of the middle and he’ll be off and running.
"That’s what we’re thinking is going to happen again. He’s done it time and time again.
"His captaincy was excellent, I thought, very proactive with the captaincy, very calm under pressure.
"But obviously with the bat he would definitely like some more runs.
"I know Ricky Ponting has been working with him in the nets in Hobart and says he’s got him right.
"I’ll have belief in that and hopefully next game we can see him come out and play with some freedom, have a bit of luck and change his fortunes around."
Ponting, who has won the Indian Premier League as both a player and a coach, is acting as an assistant coach for the Gillette T20 international tri-series.
"I've been working pretty close with him as well, not that I need to but I've been doing a little bit of stuff with his batting," Ponting told ABC Grandstand radio.
"Our job as coaches is to feed as much information to him as we can so when he gets out on the field there's nothing that takes him by surprise."
It’s been a grueling 18 months for Warner, who has missed just five of Australia’s 63 games since the Test tour of Sri Lanka in 2016.
The 31-year-old is the only member of Australia’s Test squad for the four-Test Qantas Tour of South Africa to feature in the T20 tri-series, while the likes of Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, Pat Cummins and Tim Paine have been rested before the flight to Africa next week.
Despite Warner’s heavy workload and lack of limited-overs runs, Waugh says the added responsibility of captaining the T20 side has picked up the left-hander’s spirits.
"Like any job there’s going to be times when you don’t feel as energetic or lively from a day-to-day basis," Waugh said.
"I wasn’t around the one-day series but just these T20s he’s very energetic.
"I think being captain has sparked him up a fair bit.
"I think all players may go through a little period (of fatigue) here and there.
"He’s a livewire in the field running around.
"With the bat, I suppose if you’re getting a run of outs it’s hard to look too enthusiastic, isn’t it, when you’re out cheaply.
"I think he’ll be fine. Every time he puts on a yellow or green cap he’s ready to go. That’s the main thing."
Gillette T20 trans-Tasman Tri-Series
Australia squad: David Warner (c), Aaron Finch (vc), Ashton Agar, Alex Carey, Ben Dwarshuis, Travis Head, Chris Lynn, Glenn Maxwell, Kane Richardson, D'Arcy Short, Billy Stanlake, Marcus Stoinis, Andrew Tye, Adam Zampa.
England squad: Eoin Morgan (c), Sam Billings, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Liam Dawson, Alex Hales, Chris Jordan, Dawid Malan, Liam Plunkett, Adil Rashid, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes, James Vince, David Willey, Mark Wood.
New Zealand squad: Kane Williamson (c), Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Tom Bruce, Colin de Grandhomme, Martin Guptill, Anaru Kitchen, Colin Munro, Seth Rance, Mitchell Santner, Ish Sodhi, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Ben Wheeler.
First T20I Australia won by seven wickets. Scorecard
Second T20I Australia won by five wickets. Scorecard
Third T20I Australia v England, MCG, February 10. Tickets
Fourth T20I NZ v England, Wellington, February 14
Fifth T20I NZ v Australia, Eden Park, February 16
Sixth T20I NZ v England, Seddon Park, February 18
Final TBC, Eden Park, February 21