David Warner will hang up his Test batting gloves when he walks out against Pakistan in Sydney. Image by Steve Markham/AAP PHOTOS
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Warner’s seven-month retirement plan reaches SCG finale

Scott Bailey January 3, 2024

At last the David Warner circus has finally reached its intended destination.

Seven months to the day since Warner flagged his retirement intentions, one of the longest farewells in Test history will finally come to an end against Pakistan.

The opener will enter the SCG for the anthems alongside his three daughters on Wednesday, as part of what has become known as Warner week in Sydney.

LED Signage thanking Warner will also be on display, while the SCG Trust are expected to present the 37-year-old with a gift after play on the final day.

A guard of honour is also expected from Pakistan while Warner’s teammates will also make a special presentation to him in the next week as one of Australia’s longest-serving players.

“We spend a lot of time on the road and it can be monotonous sometimes, but with Davey it never is,” captain Pat Cummins said. 

“There’s always something going on. He always brings plenty of energy to the group.

“Many times we’re sitting around at dinner for the 10th night in a row at the same restaurant … and he comes up with some story and suddenly there’s our night sorted. 

“Davey’s telling us how the world works.

“Then obviously a fierce competitor out on the field. Him standing at mid off, I always feel like he’s got our backs as a bowler.”

Australia are adamant Warner’s exit is not the sole motivation for this week, with World Test Championship points providing importance with the three-match series already wrapped up.

But his farewell party will command most of the attention.

Ahead of his 112th Test, Warner is Australia’s most prolific opening batter, while his strike-rate is behind only Adam Gilchrist for all Australians in the past century.

Cummins this week joined coach Andrew McDonald in labelling the left-hander Australia’s best ever three-format batsman, with his tally of 18,521 international runs only second to Ricky Ponting of all countrymen.

And after Warner identified Sydney as his exit point on a cold morning in Beckenham in south-east London seven months ago, Cummins is now also dreaming up the perfect finish for the veteran.

“The best-case scenario would be (him scoring) a hundred and maybe a leg-spinner to take the last wicket of the game out of the rough,” Cummins said.

The SCG Test also carries extra significance for others in Australia’s squad.

It is the first pink Test since Cummins lost his mother to breast cancer in March, and is the home match for no less than six of the Australians.

“It does (take on more significance),” Cummins said on Tuesday. 

“It’s always a special Test being a home Test, but the Pink Test has always had a special place in the heart of our family. 

“This year it’s even more so. 

“I’ve got a couple of aunties who always volunteer each year on day three, and we’ve spent many a day here even when I wasn’t playing dressed up in pink.”