Australian cricketer David Warner, the Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year, and daughter Ivy and, below, with his other daughter Indi.
Australian cricketer David Warner, the Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year, and daughter Ivy and, below, with his other daughter Indi. Contributed

The Test cricketer hit for six by family

AUSTRALIAN cricketer David Warner is never far from the spotlight. Warner, who in 2011 became the first player since 1877 to debut for Australia before he played a first-class game, has become one of Australian sport's role models.

Behind the burly, broad-shouldered frame of the man who burst on to the scene as one of the country's greatest power hitters are two young reminders that cricket is just a game.

Indi, 1, and Ivy, 3, along with his ironwoman wife Candice (nee Falzon), helped change Warner's life for the better.

It is that experience as a father, along with leadership on the cricket pitch, that contributed to Warner's role as 2017 Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year Ambassador.

"I'm very humbled by it," the national team's vice-captain said.

"From my point of view as an athlete, it's always tough to leave the kids behind at home with mum and tour around.

"Every time I get the opportunity to be at home or with them I absolutely enjoy it.

"For me, it's an honour to win the award and with the guys who have won it before me, I'm in great stead with that company."

That company includes the likes of Australian tennis player Lleyton Hewitt, AFL superstars Sam Mitchell and Luke Hodge, future NRL Immortal Cameron Smith and the previous winner, NRL legend Johnathan Thurston.

Despite an unrelenting schedule, which this year includes two Tests against Bangladesh and eight limited overs games against India before a home Ashes series, Warner is able to spend his downtime with Indi and Ivy.

"It has its moments, it can be quite challenging," Warner said.

"But I'm in a fantastic position where I'm able to have my kids travel with me overseas.

"I'm very appreciative Cricket Australia lets that happen, and we're a very family-oriented bunch anyway.

"A few of the guys have kids and we absolutely love it.

"Every moment we can share with our family we try to get them away with us."

That precious family time, whether it is at home or at one of Cricket Australia's many tour destinations, is usually spent outdoors.

In his role as the Community Sports Dad of the Year Ambassador, Warner appealed to parents to encourage children to spend as much time outside as possible.

That childhood freedom, which a young Warner enjoyed in a housing commission estate, is beneficial to the development of a fit and healthy generation.

"I think the most important thing with today's society, and I know with myself growing up as a person who lived being outdoors, is that kids need that stimulation, they need that outdoor exercise," Warner said.

"There's no reason kids couldn't be outside playing with friends with a soccer ball.

"In this environment it can be quite challenging, because as a parent you don't want your kids to hang outside, you want to watch over them.

"I was fortunate enough to grow up in a little community in a housing commission where we had a park so everyone could see out there.

"Let your kids be active and enjoy it. You as a parent should try and drive that a bit."

Warner's exploits are not limited to the sports field.

The 30-year-old is the author of the children's book series the Kaboom Kid, which he said was a way to filter his advice to kids at an early age.

"I wasn't very academic as a kid, but you need those basics of listening to the teacher, being to class on time, and earning the right to have that fun and free time," Warner said.

"That's what this was about.

"As a kid, I used to play up and get on detention. My teacher would confiscate my bat because I didn't do my homework.

"I thought it was a great way to get my message across to kids, put it into a book and have a story behind it."

Entries have closed for the 2018 Philips Community Sports Dad of the Year competition. The winner will be notified prior to Father's Day.

TRIUMPHS:

David Warner's sporting CV includes 64 Tests, scoring 5454 runs (which includes 24 half centuries and 18 centuries).

He has scored 4025 runs in 96 One Day Internationals (16 50s and 13 centuries) and has 1686 runs from his 63 Twenty20 Internationals.



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