Dave Warner Returns With Big Runs, But Do Aussies Still Want Him?
Two cricket matches overnight have left fans and selectors with more questions than it answers.
And all of those questions surround Dave Warner, the opening batsman who -- alongside Steve Smith -- completed his 12-month ban for ball tampering on Sunday.
Yes, it's now a year since that infamous day in South Africa when our cricketers dragged their reputations through the same mud their sledging tongues trawled for years.
And Dave Warner wasted no time telling the world he was back, belting a sweet 85 off just 53 balls with three sixes and nine fours for his team Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League T20 competition.
Meanwhile, in Sharjah in the UAE, the Australian cricket team had another impressive win overnight. Set 285 for victory in their One Day International against Pakistan, the Aussies cruised home thanks to a mammoth 209 run opening partnership.
The two men doing the damage were Usman Khawaja and Aaron Finch. The latter's 153 not out was his highest ever ODI score, and both batsmen are now locked in for the World Cup in England, which starts in May
The question is what this means for Warner.
Selectors can pick only a 15-man squad for the World Cup, and no current Aussie batsman deserves to miss out.
Smith strolls back in, so that's tough news for someone like Shaun Marsh or Peter Handscomb, who have done nothing wrong.
And Warner? Well, love him or hate him, he has 14 One Day International centuries at an excellent average of 43. On past numbers, and on current form, you have to pick him.
But who makes way? And here's another doozy of a question: do the current players in the squad actually want him back? Many are asking exactly that.
Just before this current tour of Pakistan, Smith and Warner got together with the national squad off the field.
"It’s been awesome, it’s like we didn’t really leave," Warner said. "The boys were very accepting of us coming in with open arms and a lot of big hugs and cuddles."
Right now, the Australian batting lineup is going so well it barely needs Dave Warner's runs. And we have a healthy scepticism for Warner's claim that it's offering hugs and cuddles to the man who damn near strangled it to death.