David Warner at Australia team training in Wellington, New Zealand.
David Warner goes through his paces as Australia prepare in Wellington for the New Zealand series. Image by Marty Melville/AAP PHOTOS
  • cricket

David Warner keen to see more trans-Tasman cricket

Ben McKay February 19, 2024

Departing great David Warner has called for a renewal of the trans-Tasman rivalry after a drought of Australian teams touring New Zealand.

The nations’ Twenty20 sides will face off for the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy this week, beginning in Wellington on Wednesday before two matches at Auckland’s Eden Park.

The clashes will be Warner’s last bilateral series for Australia.

The 37-year-old will finish his international career at June’s T20 World Cup in the USA and the Caribbean but keep playing short-form cricket in various domestic leagues.

David Warner at a pre-series press conference in Wellington.
 Warner shares his thoughts in Wellington ahead of his final bilateral series for Australia. Image by Marty Melville/AAP PHOTOS 

For the Kiwis, the upcoming series presents the last chance to barrack one of their chief antagonists.

Warner was subject to vile sledging that included attacks on his family on a 2016 visit – and that was before the sandpapergate scandal which cemented his reputation among rival fans.

“They got personal,” the opener said in Wellington on Monday.

“If they have to get personal, that’s their character. I just go about my business. That’s upon each individual.

“If you want to pay your money to come and abuse people then you know, you have to go back and lay in your own bed. 

“We get to play the game of cricket that we love.”

Modern venues are a far cry from Warner’s first taste of Kiwi cricket, back in 2010.

Warner – who had broken into the Australia side a year earlier – flew in for a couple of matches in the NZ domestic competition with the pink-clad Northern Knights.

David Warner at training at the Basin Reserve in Wellington.
 Warner takes the weight off during training at the Basin Reserve in New Zealand’s capital. Image by Marty Melville/AAP PHOTOS 

His first outing came at Oamaru, a South Island town of 14,000 people best known as the hometown of All Blacks captain Ritchie McCaw, but otherwise usually passed through on the drive between Christchurch and Dunedin.

“I literally thought it was a ghost town. I was walking down the street. It was a Saturday … there was just no one there,” Warner recalled.

“We legitimately played on a football field, it was quite crazy because coming from Australia (it’d be like) playing on a rugby league field.

“Played with Timmy (Southee), (Trent) Boulty … it was great, I really enjoyed it.”

Crowds this week will be bigger than the entire town of Oamaru, with Sky Stadium attracting its biggest cricket turnout since the 2015 ODI World Cup.

That may be because New Zealand fans have been starved of matches against their arch-rivals.

Next week, Australia will play their first Test series in the nation since 2016, while the one-day international team hasn’t visited in seven years.

Warner says future sides should honour the trans-Tasman rivalry by competing more often.

“Definitely Australia could come over here more,” he said.

“New Zealand’s come over to us probably six or seven times (since I was here last).

“The schedule has always been a hot topic but … with our rivalry and being close neighbours, it just fits.”

Kiwis captain Mitchell Santner and Australia skipper Mitchell Marsh.
 NZ captain Mitchell Santner (left) and Australia skipper Mitch Marsh ahead of the T20 series. Image by Marty Melville/AAP PHOTOS 

The Chappell-Hadlee Trophy was previously reserved for ODI cricket, but the governing bodies either side of the Tasman Sea have agreed to put the trophy up for grabs in T20 series as well.

When an ODI and T20 series is staged back-to-back, a points system will be implemented to determine the winners.

Both families have applauded the shift, with Kiwi legend Sir Richard Hadlee calling it “brilliant”.

“It’s great that the trophy will have more visibility and profile,” he said.

Greg Chappell said “having our family name on the Chappell-Hadlee is a great source of pride for Ian, Trevor and myself”. 

 “It will be particularly pleasing to see some young Australian players competing with their Kiwi counterparts for the trophy in years to come.”