‘He is a bit Hollywood’: David Warner arrives at SCG in helicopter ahead of Sydney Smash

Sydney Thunder opener David Warner arrived at the SCG in style on Friday afternoon, touching down on the outfield in a private helicopter.

With Fisher’s 2018 anthem ‘Losing It’ blaring from the venue’s speakers, Warner and wife Candice descended onto the hallowed surface with hundreds of onlookers watching on, mostly comprised of media and Cricket NSW staff. He waved at a small group of fans in the MA Noble Stand before retiring to the sheds ahead of the Sydney Smash.

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“It was cool to see Sydney from up above on a cracking day,” Warner told Channel 7.

“I might look like a little bit of a goose if I don’t get any runs.”

Fifty metres away, Thunder teammate Cameron Bancroft and Sixers rival Steve Smith, who was unveiled as Australia’s new Test opener earlier this week, warmed up for the sold-out Big Bash League contest in adjacent nets.

The helicopter landed in front of the iconic Members’ Stand on the same patch of grass that displayed a painted message of ‘Thanks Dave’ during last week’s New Tear’s Test match against Pakistan. It was hoped Warner would emerge from the aircraft donning a tuxedo, James Bond style, but instead he wore Sydney Thunder kit.

“He is a bit Hollywood, isn’t he? It is very Davey,” Sydney Sixers seamer Sean Abbott laughed while chatting to reporters on Thursday.

“I got the Lime bike in today and I’ll be doing the same tomorrow night. So I’ll be riding out the gate there as Davey lands.”

Warner had boarded the helicopter at Cessnock Airport just over 45 minutes earlier, having raced across from his brother’s wedding in the Hunter Valley. The 37-year-old left before the reception to ensure he could participate in Friday evening’s Big Bash League derby between the Sixers and Thunder at the SCG.

He also posted footage from the helicopter ride to his Instagram story.

“If I missed my brother’s wedding, he would probably … jab me in the jaw a few times,” Abbott joked.

Initially, Cricket NSW and Venues NSW were negotiating whether Warner’s helicopter could touch down at next door’s Allianz Stadium, but the plan was ultimately scrapped.

“I’m glad they’re making it happen because I think everyone in the country who is a fan of cricket wants to see David Warner playing in the BBL,” Abbott continued.

“I’m really looking forward to coming up against one of the best players in the world. He has been for a long time.”

Friday’s derby will be the first of Warner’s three Big Bash appearances this summer, unless the Thunder somehow qualify for the finals series, which at this stage is only a mathematical possibility.

After Wednesday’s group-stage match against the Melbourne Renegades at Sydney Showground, the veteran opener will fly to the United Arab Emirates for a stint with the Dubai Capitals in the International League T20. Earlier this week, chief selector George Bailey confirmed Warner would then return home in February for the bilateral T20 series against the West Indies, missing the ILT20 finals campaign.

Warner, in the final year of his two-season deal with the Thunder, compiled 99 runs in six knocks at 19.80 during last summer’s Big Bash with an underwhelming strike rate of 108.79.

“He’s going to a lot of effort to come and play,” Thunder bowler Gurinder Sandhu told reporters on Wednesday.

“We love having him here. Last year he was awesome for us.

“He maybe didn’t score as many runs as he would have liked but he was awesome around the group and was passing on information.

“I think he’s one of the better team men that we have in Cricket Australia and now all the fans get to enjoy him playing cricket.

“Hopefully, he can put his best foot forward and score a hundred like he did in BBL01 playing for the Thunder.

“Plus with his energy out in the field, it’ll be awesome having him out there.”

The Sydney Smash gets underway at the SCG on Friday at 7.15pm AEDT.

Originally published as ‘He is a bit Hollywood’: David Warner arrives at SCG in helicopter ahead of Sydney Smash

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