Will win back orange cap from Virat Kohli: David Warner

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Cricketer David Warner is captain of Hyderabad Sunrisers, vice-captain of Australia and so far, the second highest run-getter in IPL 2016, hitting the greatest score after Virat Kohli. Speaking with Nalin Mehta, Warner discussed his text message duel with Kohli for the tournament’s coveted orange cap, Kohli’s own gruelling regimen and his inspirational leadership, Warner’s decision to not drink alcohol for a year – and how vital having a life beyond the cricket pitch is:

We have seen some great batting from you this season and you were also on top of the table till recently – could you discuss your approach and how you lift your game?
Well, i am eating the same breakfast as Virat Kohli. I think it is all about being consistent and about keeping my mind fresh.

I had a very disappointing T20 World Cup – for me, it is about coming out here now and showing what i am capable of. It is about digging deep, backing myself and getting as many runs as i can for my team.

Virat Kohli just crossed you as the current top scorer in the tournament. Tell us about your exchanges with him.

It was a vice versa about the orange cap for being the highest run-getter. He texted me the other day, saying he’s coming for the orange cap – and my reply was, i am going to come back and get it off you.

How would you evaluate Virat Kohli’s batting?
He does have exceptional talent and he has been going for a long time. He has over a 100 one-day internationals now and he is going to play over a 100 test matches too.

Virat is a leader.

He has exceptional knowledge of cricket – and he is probably one of the hardest trainers that i have ever seen in the game. He’s always down in the gym and i think he does about three hours of training every day.

His fitness regimen is really incredible – he does stretching, yoga, power-lifting and then, cricket training. On top of that, there is the weight of the nation as well as the captaincy upon him.

But he has got the Indian team in the right frame of mind now. One thing that stands out for me with this Indian team is that their fielding has been exceptional in the last 12 months.
I think it is under him that they will strive for greatness in the field – and that’s where games are won for a lot of teams. In the field.

Off the field, you have spoken about how your own approach to batting changed following your daughter’s birth and how you have given up alcohol as well – can you share how that helped you?
Look, it’s been almost a year now since i stopped drinking alcohol. I will complete a year on May 20. My wife was pregnant at that time and i thought, why not go the whole nine months without drinking too. It was just to give myself a goal, something to achieve away from cricket. I have been fortunate enough to do that so far.

Once i get to the one-year mark, i will see what to do. I might keep not drinking or i might drink, who knows.

But it’s not about drinking. It is about giving myself the best opportunity to recover and to play cricket.

I have two daughters and a fantastic wife and they provide me all the support i need to achieve goals with. There is a life after cricket as well. Cricket is not the be-all and end-all and it is about setting myself up for after cricket.

Having stability off the field is always fantastic.

Tell us about your approach to the IPL today – what keeps you going on a daily basis?
I always say to young kids i meet – don’t think about cricket all the time. Take your mind away from the game. That is what i do in the IPL and in India as well.

There is business in the field – and off it.

What is your approach to captaincy?
I am enjoying it. I want to leave behind a legacy i’d be proud of. I knew i had to make some adjustments in the mind and then worked as hard to do justice to my potential. I have also grown as a human being in the last couple of years. I have realised the importance of being successful and how hard i need to work to earn the success.

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