Close call: Ben Rohrer’s unbeaten 63 from 91 balls for NSW against Victoria at Bankstown on Monday included this run-out attempt, but his knock wasn’t enough to save the Blues. Photo: Ben RushtonNo matter what trouble David Warner has managed to land himself in, his talent has always been his trump card.
It was his saviour during the Ashes, when his near double-century in Africa rendered his nightclub fracas with Joe Root immediately forgiven and forgotten and he was rushed out of exile into the Australian team. He could have used it chiming in again on Monday. In the circumstances, an eight-ball duck at Bankstown Oval, where NSW were beaten by Victoria in a low-scoring Ryobi Cup affair by two wickets, was the last thing the Test opener needed.
Warner is back in the news for the wrong reasons, asked to explain to Cricket NSW chief executive Andrew Jones in a meeting set for Tuesday why he did not follow the state’s instructions and turn out for his new club Randwick Petersham on Saturday.
It is not the world’s most heinous cricketing crime. He won’t have a contract torn up over it, and he may not even be fined. In some ways he has found himself inadvertently caught up in a broader plot: the drive by the recently installed NSW administration to ram home the importance of grade cricket and by doing so stem its decline. They are making a statement and, in the process, an example of Warner.
It is expected NSW bosses will also quiz him on suggestions that rather than field for Randwick Petersham against Northern District he followed his own net and fitness sessions by attending Epsom day at Randwick racecourse on Saturday.
If it were not Warner it would probably barely rate a mention, but after the year he has had – from the pre-Ashes scuffle with Root, to a highly publicised showdown with a journalist on Twitter – it is another off-field drama the 26-year-old could have done without.
A big score for NSW that might have taken the heat off eluded him on Monday, chopping the Bushrangers’ Scott Boland onto his stumps early enough in the morning that national selector John Inverarity had not even arrived at the ground. The Blues slumped to 3-19 and then 6-85 on another slow Bankstown wicket, but Ben Rohrer’s steady, unbeaten 63 from 91 balls, following captain Steve Smith’s 47 from 73, led them to a defendable 9-171 from 50 overs.
It was not quite enough as Victoria, via 82 from former captain Cameron White and 50 from new skipper Matthew Wade, reached the target with two wickets and 25 balls in hand, despite the best efforts of Doug Bollinger (2-25), Gurinder Sandhu (2-29) and Josh Hazlewood (2-41). It was the competition-leading Bushrangers’ third win from three games in the tournament, while NSW are second with a win and a loss.
“We spoke about the shots we wanted to play and didn’t want to play on that sort of wicket, and unfortunately the first few wickets were all playing those shots,” Rohrer said. “Credit to the boys, the way we stuck at it. We almost pinched it in the end.”
Rohrer said Warner, who only managed four in the the Blues’ first match last week, was only a score away from returning to form. “I think he’s just been a bit unlucky chopping on,” he said. “That’s probably one of shots we did say not to play.”
The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.