Australia coach Justin Langer has expressed doubt about David Warner’s ability to rediscover top form after the batsman was terrorised by Stuart Broad during a torturous Ashes campaign.
Warner endured a miserable time in England and ended with the unwanted record of the fewest runs scored by a Test opener across 10 innings of a series.
The 32-year-old, who registered a cumulative total of just 95, was dismissed seven times by Broad during the drawn contest and encountered constant jeers from home crowds following his role in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal.
Former batsman Langer feels Warner allowed England bowler Broad to “get into his head” but plans to persist with him heading into the Australian summer.
Despite backing his player for the time being, the 48-year-old coach is uncertain that he will fully recover from a dismal Ashes display.
“I’ve learned over a long period you never write off champion players, it doesn’t matter what sport, you never write off champion players,” said Langer, whose side retained the urn following the 2-2 draw.
“They tend to come good, don’t they? So he’s had a tough series, no doubt about that, but he’s also a champion player so usually with champion players they get a bit more time to come good.
“He had this series, it didn’t go to plan, but he’s seen how successful he’s been and the impact he can have on Australian cricket teams winning, so I’m confident he’ll come good.
“Actually, I’m hopeful he comes good. Talking frankly, I thought he let Stuart Broad get into his head and I think he thought way too much about it.”
Warner’s struggles included arriving for the final Test at The Oval, which England won to secure a 2-2 draw and deny Australia a first success on these shores since 2001, on the back of three successive ducks.
That prompted a handful of playful England fans to turn up to the south London ground wearing duck costumes with his name on the back.
Prior to Warner’s persistently paltry efforts, New Zealand’s John D’Arcy held the worst return for an opener across 10 innings of a series, scoring 136 against England in 1958.
Langer feels Warner, who was the second-highest run scorer at the World Cup, will be pleased to see the back of Broad and relieved to be returning home.
“I used to have lean runs all the time but even great players have lean runs and I’m sure David – we know he’s a very good player, there’s no question about that – but he had it tough, particularly against Stuart Broad,” continued Langer.
“I used to have it against Murali (Sri Lankan, Muttiah Muralitharan) and I couldn’t solve the issue and it’s so hard when you’re trying to problem-solve and then you’re in the middle of a big series trying to solve the puzzle.
“In this instance I don’t think David solved the puzzle, and he’ll be the first to admit that.
“He’ll probably be very relieved (when) he gets on the Qantas flight knowing he doesn’t have to face Stuart Broad for a while, I reckon.”
Meanwhile, Langer was receptive to the idea of outgoing England coach Trevor Bayliss performing a future role for Australia.
Bayliss, 56, has expressed interest in working for his native country in some capacity following the end of his four-year reign with England.
“Trevor Bayliss, from a personal point of view and as a mentor, I’m sure I can learn a lot from TB, if he’s open to it,” said Langer.
“He’s a seasoned campaigner, he’s an Australian. I know he’s done a great job for England but I know he loves Australia as well, so who knows what could happen there.”