David Warner has had a bittersweet 2021. He was a fulcrum of the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League (IPL) before his relationship with the franchise went sour. The 35-year-old Warner, who led the Hyderabad-based outfit to its maiden title win back in 2016, was sacked as captain midway through the last year’s IPL edition. To fan the flames of disruption in the franchise, Warner was also dropped from the team’s Playing XI. Lifting the T20 World Cup would have perhaps provided some respite to him but Warner was “hurt” after the axing. The southpaw was not happy with the manner in which he was discarded by the team.
“If you are going to drop a captain and then not pick him in the team after what he has done, what message does that send to the young kids in the team? What message does that send to the rest of the group? What hurt me the most is that the other guys are now thinking, ‘oh, this could happen to me’,” said Warner on the chat show Backstage with Boria. “At the end of the day, whatever happens, cop it cop it on the chin. If you want to have those conversations, just have them. It’s not hard. Don’t shy away from them. I am not going to bite. I am going to sit here and accept that for what it is because you are not picking me in the team,” he further added.
Warner also pointed out the significance of “icon players”, which help in the growth of a team as a brand. He also talked about the effect of his unceremonious exit on the SunRisers Hyderabad fans. The franchise endured a disastrous season in IPL 2021 as they failed to make it to the playoffs, managing only three wins in 14 games. “It was the pain that I knew was going to hit the fans. They are what makes a franchise. They grow your brand. The greatest teams in the world have icon players. I have been there for a long time. Kane Williamson has been there for a long time, so has Bhuvneshwar. You build a brand and you move forward with that brand..”
Warner led SRH in the first six games of the season before being sacked from captaincy for leading them to just one win. The star opener was replaced by Kane Williamson as the captain of the side and was left out of the Playing XI for the side’s seventh game of the tournament. “They really felt it and it hurts me because I am passionate about where I play. I will connect in any way I can with the fans because I know how important fans are. Those kids in the playground wanting to be Sachin, Virat, myself, Williamson, Steve Smith – you name those players, they want to be us. We have to connect with them. If they see something like that, it hurts them,” he added.