After the Sydney Thunder were eliminated from the Big Bash, Australia opener David Warner left his young teammates with a parting piece of advice: Leaving a legacy in cricket means pursuing a Test career.
Warner revealed fears for the future of Test cricket at the Australian Cricket Awards on Monday, saying younger players have begun setting their sights on lucrative franchise deals rather than the baggy green.
Tim David's $1.53 million contract at last year's IPL auction was the richest by an Australian that year and proved once-and-for-all that overseas players need not have made a name for themselves at Test level to score big bucks in white-ball competitions.
Dan Christian, Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis are among the other active Australians to have become household names, toured the world and earned significant money all without playing Test cricket.
While Warner's Thunder features some of the best young talents in Australia, including Ollie Davies, Tanveer Sangha and Jason Sangha, Warner doubted whether the next generation were all-in on playing Test cricket.
"I was speaking to (Davies) the other day. He likes playing white-ball cricket, I can't see him playing red-ball cricket any time soon," Warner told reporters.
"If he wants to put his mind to it, he can definitely play.
"But I've got a little bit of scaredness about what's going to happen in the next five to 10 years, where cricket is actually heading.
"I'd love for guys coming through to play red-ball cricket and play Test cricket because that's the legacy that you should want to leave behind.
"Playing in the Test arena is amazing. Pardon the pun but it's a true test of cricket and how well you measure up to the greats of the game."
Warner is living proof it is possible to parlay white-ball brilliance into international honours; when he was picked for the T20I side in 2009, he became the first man since 1877 to debut for Australia without playing a first-class game. He has gone on to play a century of Tests.
And as he reaches the twilight of his international career, Warner is urging the next generation of T20 guns not to give up their chance to forge an international career in all three formats.
If for no other reason, he says playing Test cricket could give players a better chance of attracting overseas franchise interest.
"Guys see the short-term at the moment with all the leagues and stuff around," he said.
"The best way to get value for your currency is actually making a name for yourself.
"There's only been a small minority of people who have been able to do that and have a long career (without playing Test cricket)."
Source: Mudgee Guardian
BDST: 1230 HRS, JAN 31, 2023