Legendary Aussie cricket coach John Buchanan says David Warner is no ‘great’

David Warner left the Test cricket stage to a hero’s reception in the third Test against Pakistan but former Australian cricket coach John Buchanan has questioned his place as a “great” in the game.

Warner finishes his Test career on 112 matches with 8786 runs — 22nd all-time — at an average of 44.59 and a strike rate of 70.19 — a rate which is nearly 10 runs per 100 ball better than the next best above him on the Test run scoring list.

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He also scored 6932 runs at 45.30 and a strike rate of 97.26 in ODI cricket — sixth best for Australia and 48th across all nations — while his current tally of 2894 runs at 34.28 and a strike rate of 141.30 has him second best all-time in T20I for Australia, eighth overall.

However, Warner has also been a controversial presence since breaking into international cricket, often an abrasive and aggressive player particularly early in his career, with his role in the 2018 Cape Town sandpaper scandal topping the list.

But while Warner was given a hero’s send off at the SCG on Saturday, debate, particularly in the commentary box, erupted over whether the 37-year-old should be considered one of Australia greatest ever openers.

However, for Buchanan, who was the former Australian cricket coach between 1999 and 2007, including overseeing two World Cups (2003 and 2007) and a Champions Trophy in 2006, as well as a world record 16 consecutive Test wins, a feat the side achieved twice during his tenure, the title of “great” should be reserved for only the best of the best.

When asked whether Warner was a “great”, Buchanan, speaking on SEN Breakfast, replied: “I don’t think so.”

“I think he’s certainly performed exceptionally well throughout this career, he sits on 8000+ runs, he’s played over 100 Test matches, over 160 one-dayers and nearly 100 T20s.

“His averages are reasonable compared to all those in the various formats, his strike rate is obviously higher because of the way he plays the game. On performance base, he’s right up there.

“But greats of the game, in my opinion, are people that really do and have done something exceptional that others just can’t match, so therefore you automatically go to the (Don) Bradmans, (Glenn) McGraths, the (Shane) Warnes, they’re the greats in my opinion.

“Others come close, but are just not in that category and I don’t see Warner in that category.”

For the record, as an opening batter in Test cricket, Warner’s average of 45.09 across 202 innings (he had three innings where he didn’t open, scoring 39 runs at 13.00), ranks as the 28th highest in history for batters with more than 30 innings.

For Australians, Warner’s average ranks 10th, with Usman Khawaja averaging 57.40 in 51 innings ahead of Bob Simpson (55.52, 70 innings), Bill Ponsford (54.18, 31 innings), Bill Woodfull (50.90, 44 innings), Matthew Hayden (50.74, 184 innings), Simon Katich (50.48, 61 innings), Justin Langer (48.23, 115 innings), Bill Lawry (47.15, 123 innings) and Arthur Morris (45.69, 76 innings) ahead of him as openers.

Australia will head into a new era without Warner as of the next Test against the West Indies with Cam Green brought back into the side with reports Steve Smith is set to get his wish and move to the top of the order.

The debate has been raging throughout the summer over who would replace Warner, with the likes of standout Sheffield Shield candidates Cameron Bancroft, Matt Renshaw and Marcus Harris seemingly set to miss out on the first post-Warner opportunity.

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