A new-look David Warner returned to professional cricket yesterday but it wasn’t the bright blue uniform or trimmed physique that was the notable change.
For the first time in nearly a decade, Warner was not using a Gray-Nicolls bat, instead his willow was sporting Spartan stickers.
When Warner burst on to the international arena in January 2009 with a demolition job of South Africa at the Melbourne Cricket Ground it was with a Gray-Nicolls bat that he smashed 89 from 43 balls.
With a ‘Gray-Nic’ in his hand, Warner plundered 35 international hundreds, more T20 runs than any other Australian and became the first player to score a century before lunch on any day of a Test in Australia when he put Pakistan to the sword in January 2017.
His ‘Kaboom’ bat resembled the trunk of a large tree and was as much a Warner trademark as his celebratory leap after reaching a century.
He also used his bat handle as a microphone when the ‘Reverend’ would salute his teammates after reaching a batting milestone.
But after training with a cleanskin bat before his first game for the Winnipeg Hawks in the inaugural Global T20 Canada competition, the left-hander unveiled a new Spartan sponsorship on Saturday.
Unfortunately for the 31-year-old, he lasted only two balls with the fresh blade as he was clean bowled for one by Sri Lanka veteran Lasith Malinga in the second over.
It is unknown whether the ball-tampering incident in Cape Town, that saw Warner suspended from international and Australian domestic cricket for 12 months and banished from holding any future leadership roles in Australian cricket, is connected to the bat swap.
According to the Spartan website, Sachin Tendulkar, MS Dhoni, Kevin Pietersen, Michael Clarke, Chris Gayle, Viv Richards and Wasim Akram are Spartan ambassadors, as well as Warner’s former Test opening partner Joe Burns.
Warner’s next game for Winnipeg is tomorrow (AEST) against Vancouver Knights and he will be hoping to put his new bat to better use.
“Get more than one run,” Warner joked when asked how to live up to his billing after his first match.
“Good to be back out in the field with a smile on my face. These tournaments are exciting, just like the IPL or the Big Bash League.
“I’m grateful for this opportunity.”
Global T20 Canada
28 June – 15 July: Click here for the complete schedule
Toronto Nationals: Darren Sammy (c), Steve Smith, Kieron Pollard, Kamran Akmal, Hussain Talat, Rumman Raees, Nikhil Dutta, Johnson Charles, Kesrick Williams, Farhan Malik, Usama Mir, Rohan Mustafa, Nitish Kumar, Nizakat Khan, Mohammad Umair, Anton Devcich, Mohammad Sami, Mohammad Naveed.
Montreal Tigers: Lasith Malinga (c), Sunil Narine, Thisara Perera, Mohammad Hafeez, Denesh Ramdin, Sandeep Lamichhane, Sikandar Raza, Dasun Shanaka, Isuru Udana, George Worker, Najibullah Zadran, Cecil Pervez, Ibrahim Khaleel, Dillon Heyliger, Nicholas Kirton, Rayyan Pathan, Dwayne Smith, Moises Henriques, Peter Siddle, Kevon Cooper.
Edmonton Royals: Shahid Afridi (c), Luke Ronchi, Mohammad Irfan, Sohail Tanvir, Christiaan Jonker, Wayne Parnell, Asif Ali, Hasan Khan, Agha Salman, Shaiman Anwar, Satsimranjit Dhindsa, Ahmed Raza, Abraash Khan, Ammar Khalid, Simon Pervez, Umar Akmal, Farhaan Behardien, Andre Fletcher.
Vancouver Knights: Chris Gayle (c), Andre Russell, Evin Lewis, Tim Southee, Chadwick Walton, Fawad Ahmed, Babar Hayat, Sheldon Cottrell, Saad Bin Zafar, Ruvindu Gunasekera, Srimantha Wijeratne, Kamau Leverock, Steven Jacobs, Salman Nazar, Rassie van der Dussen , Jeremy Gordon.
Winnipeg Hawks: Dwayne Bravo (c), David Miller, David Warner, Lendl Simmons, Darren Bravo, Fidel Edwards, Rayad Emrit, Ben McDermott, Ali Khan, Hamza Tariq, Junaid Siddique, Tion Webster, Rizwan Cheema, Hiral Patel, Mark Deyal, Kyle Phillip
Cricket West Indies ‘B’ Team: Anthony Bramble (c), Fabian Allen, Alick Athanaze, Roland Cato, Justin Greaves, Derval Green, Kavem Hodge, Brandon King, Jeremiah Louis, Obed McCoy, Khary Pierre, Nicholas Pooran, Sherfane Rutherford, Shamar Springer.