There’s a surprising new role for Aussie cricket superstar David Warner as the 100-Test veteran prepares for life beyond the picket fence.
The 36-year-old opener, who brought up an impressive double century in the Boxing Day Test as criticism mounted over an extended run of poor form, is set to become the latest legend to enter the commentary box.
Having already made guest appearances providing special commentary, the effervescent Warner is expected to make a seamless transition into the box once he hangs up the baggy green.
David Warner, pictured with wife Candice, has found a new role – cricket commentary – nearing retirement
It comes as Cricket Australia confirmed a $1.5billion broadcast rights deal on Tuesday, with Foxtel and Channel 7 to continue their partnership with the country’s governing body until 2031.
Former cricket legends such as Justin Langer, Matthew Hayden, Ricky Ponting, Adam Gilchrist, Allan Border and Mark Waugh are just some of the game’s figures who have proved popular this summer with both broadcasters.
Sadly, the tragic deaths of cricketing giants Andrew Symonds and Shane Warne have left a gaping hole in the Fox Cricket team, however.
Of course, there will never be another ‘Simmo’ or ‘Warnie’, but Warner wants to share his mind no matter what the outcome like Warne.
And a similar underlying enthusiasm in Symonds belies a cold, calculating cricketing brain that is often underestimated.
Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany had a pep in his step as he addressed the media at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) following confirmation that Cricket Australia had chosen the reliability of the pay TV broadcaster over the big money thrown at them of American-owned Paramount+.
David Warner scores his first Test century in three years as he gets to 200 against South Africans at the MCG with his career hanging by a thread
‘I don’t think it’s possible to replace Shane (Warne) and Andrew (Symonds),’ he told reporters from the hallowed SCG turf ahead of Wednesday’s Test.
‘We’ve been thinking for a long time about what we can do with coverage. When you have names like Gilchrist and Guha, Hussey, Border, Waugh, Mel Jones, it’s a very, very big team.
‘(But) if you had a shot at even one commentator of the current crop to replace those two, you’d probably have to say the name is Dave Warner,’ Delany said.
The head of Fox, which has been in the hot seat at the satellite and streaming service since 2018, hailed Warner as the next big thing in commentary and confirmed that the broadcaster has rolled out the red carpet.
Foxtel believes the strong-willed Warner (right, pictured with wife Candice) will be hugely popular with cricket fans behind the microphone, backing his reputation as a ‘fighter and brawler’ to resonate with audiences
‘He (Warner) is a brawler, he’s a fighter, he’s exciting. From the moment he came out of the patch, I remember at the Big Bash in 2011 when he first came into true dominance, we are very pleased that we have signed him now and in the future,’ said Delany.
‘I think he will be a very, very good cricket commentator.
‘We use him at the moment, he’s occasional. When he chooses to retire, he’ll be with us … as long as he wants,’ said Delany, appearing to provide an open checkbook for the foreseeable future.
Former top pundit, now Fox Sports executive director Steve Crawley, is equally bullish on the new recruit.
For his superb 200 in the Boxing Day Test, David Warner won the Mullagh Medal and is set to continue his Test career for the foreseeable future
‘When he (Warner) comes out to bat you can double your audience. He made cricket exciting,’ he told Fox.
‘And he is the same in the twilight of his career as he was at the beginning — a swashbuckling, fearless individual.
‘I’ve been around sports broadcasting for a long time and believe that David Warner was made for commentary as much as he was made to open the batting,’ said Crawley.
Of course Warner hasn’t retired yet.
Tough tours of India and England – where Warner has often struggled – are looming, while as soon as this current Test series ends, the feisty left-hander heads straight into his first BBL season with the Thunder .
David Warner (right) attended Prime Minister Anthony Albanese’s official residence, Kirribilli House, on New Year’s Day, and has previously indicated that he will not enter politics
He has also previously hinted that he wants to play in this year’s ODI World Cup and the T20 World Cup in 2024 – despite his form falling sharply in both formats.
Warner has long been wise when it comes to thinking about life after cricket and diversifying his life.
Among the business interests involving the veteran opener worth an estimated $20million are horse ownership marketplace Black Type X, a Victorian brewery of which he is a director, 666Vodka and several investment properties that will join other projects.
He even indicated he had no intention of entering politics – and tested the waters on New Year’s Day with a match against Prime Minister Anthony Albanese at Kirribilli House.
You can now add commentary to the ever-growing list, and he will undoubtedly thrive in the spotlight.