David Warner has completed the mad dash from his brother’s wedding in the Hunter Valley to the SCG in a helicopter, landing on the outfield just hours before his first Big Bash appearance of the season.
Fresh from his final Test match for Australia, the 37-year-old will suit up for the Sydney Thunder against cross-town rivals Sydney Sixers in Friday night’s sold-out T20 blockbuster.
WATCH THE VIDEO ABOVE: David Warner touches down on the SCG in a helicopter.
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The helicopter plot was hatched in the days after Warner’s red-ball farewell, but hiccups loomed as his exact landing spot remained unclear. Yet it all went off without a hitch inside the SCG before gates opened for fans.
Warner and his wife Candice departed the family celebrations just before 4pm and landed less than an hour later — little more than two hours before the first ball.
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“It was good, it was quite cool to see Sydney from up above on a cracking day, it was amazing,” Warner told Channel 7’s Greg Blewett.
“No (wedding suit), come to work you’ve got to get changed into the team kit. It was a wonderful ceremony up there, it was amazing to see my brother with his wife Emily. It was great.”
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The Warners landed on the SCG outfield. Credit: Channel 7
Warner confirmed he wore the cost of the helicopter ride himself and accepted he should now go and make some runs to justify the whole adventure.
“I’ll have to flick on the bill, I think,” he joked.
“No, I did promise — I said if the only way I could get back was by a chopper, so I’ve done my utmost to get back down here and hopefully put some runs on the board.
“I’ll look like a little bit of a goose if I don’t get any runs but it’s my contribution to not just the BBL but Australian cricket.
“I want to be out here and I want to entertain and help our team win the next three games.”
Warner speaks to Channel 7’s Greg Blewett on the SCG. Credit: Channel 7
The Sydney Sixers poked fun at Warner’s arrival by promoting Sean Abbott’s ride to the SCG on a rental bike.
“No chopper, no worries,” the franchise wrote on social media.
Abbott himself poked fun at his former international teammate on Thursday.
“He is a bit Hollywood isn’t he, it is very Davey,” the star bowler said.
“I got the Lime bike in today (to training) and I’ll be doing the same tomorrow night. So I’ll be just riding out the gate there as Davey lands.
“But 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 and I’m really looking forward to coming up against one of the best players in the world.
“I’m really glad he’s making the trip down to be involved.”
Abbott rode to the game on a rental bike. Credit: BBL
Speaking to Blewett, Warner reflected on his Test retirement being a “fitting” farewell after a successful 18 months in the format.
“They’ve got another two Test matches to go (this summer) and I don’t have to worry about it,” he said.
Warner will now feature in the Thunder’s final three regular-season games before heading to the United Arab Emirates, where he’ll suit up for the Dubai Capitals in the ILT20.
“We’ve got to win the next three games to have a chance of pushing for the finals … it’s exciting,” he said.
The Big Bash may not be the last fans see of Warner this summer, though, with Cricket Australia expecting the opener to fly back from Dubai to feature in next month’s Twenty20 series against West Indies.
Those games in Hobart, Adelaide and Perth between February 9 and 13 will be Warner’s final internationals in Australia.
The 37-year-old last week announced his immediate retirement from one-day cricket, and confirmed June’s T20 World Cup in the Caribbean would be his international swansong.
David Warner’s farewell tour took place at the SCG in front of family and friends. Credit: AAP
Steve Smith, Warner’s replacement at the top of the Test batting order to face West Indies, is set for a BBL cameo of his own for the Sixers on Friday.
But Englishman Tom Curran won’t feature, the allrounder’s BBL stint with the Sixers ending prematurely because of a knee injury.
Curran will return home this week to determine the full extent of the damage and will miss the final two regular-season games.
He was already set to sit out the BBL finals due to his ILT20 obligations with the Desert Vipers, although that campaign is also now in doubt.
The injury caps a forgettable BBL season for the 28-year-old, who was banned for four matches for intimidating fourth umpire Muhammad Qureshi when he ran through the crease and narrowly avoided the official after being told to stop.
Curran, who has played all three formats for England, unsuccessfully appealed against the sanction before issuing a pubic apology to the umpire.
– with AAP