David Warner goes aerial

Name the artist most likely to provide the soundtrack to a David Warner batting montage over the past decade and many would reach for an AC/DC record - all blazing guitars and hair-raising lyrics - or perhaps something even heavier.

An absence of the aforementioned metallic clang about Warner"s performances at this year"s World Cup has been so evident as to raise questions about what is now going on inside the left-hander"s head, for he has been seemingly batting to the loping rhythm of an emo folkie. Following Australia"s win over England at Lord"s he has finally provided an answer: emo folk indeed, from the Scotsman Lewis Capaldi. Lewis Capaldi? The Bruises, Grace, Someone You Loved Lewis Capaldi, so loathed by Noel Gallagher? Yes, really.

The flip side of Warner"s composed and relaxed visage in the middle during games - a jarring contrast with so many of his previous, antagonistic displays - has been his use of headphones in the nets. During Australia"s training sessions, Warner has donned the ear buds and played tracks off his watch to block out external noise and slow his tempo. It"s a technique drawn from one of the many relaxation methods Warner tried during his 12 months banned from the international game.

"Why do I wear headphones at training, well I was waiting for that. It is something for me to relax my mind," Warner said. "We do a lot of different things. In the last 12 months I just did a lot of different stuff. I did a lot of stuff on recovery.

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"I am not an ice bath man but I went and did cryotherapy [use of extreme cold to aid recovery], I did a whole session with my headphones on a couple of times and it really relaxed me at training. When you have guys coming at you at 150kph you don"t want to be listening to any external noise around the training sessions. So I just sing along to whatever top 40 is on my iWatch. It is a bit of a tempo thing."

"There is a Lewis Capaldi [song], I think he is on there at the moment. There is a bit of slow music, but for me it is calming me down while I am out there."

Blocking out external noise, of course, was something Warner and Steven Smith needed to be ready for on their returns to Australian ranks, and there were still plenty of boos at Lord"s, tacitly approved of by England"s captain Eoin Morgan. Smith"s own year of self-discovery featured the taking up of music - he now travels with an acoustic guitar - and for Warner the decision to find a different headspace in which to bat and play the game can be related to what he saw when he played club cricket in Sydney over the summer.

David Warner"s ear bud is just visible as he bats in the nets AFP

"For me it is about enjoying the game when it is taken away from you, you realise what it is all about," Warner said. "Going back to grass roots was fantastic. I really saw smiles on people"s faces to be out there on a Saturday afternoon. All the volunteers that come down and put time and effort, whether it is making the drinks, making the lunches. People"s parents, my mum, my dad coming down, it is just great. You can"t take that for granted. I am just grateful for the second opportunity to come back here and represent my country and do the country proud. You know I am just excited to be back here and playing World Cup cricket for Australia."

If there was criticism of the way Warner dragged Australia"s run rate down against India at The Oval, this has been drowned out by how he and Aaron Finch have proven to be this tournament"s calmest and most reliable opening pair.

Their qualities have been most evident on a pair of days, against Pakistan and England, when they were sent in to bat in conditions tailored to seam and swing. But instead of being methodically nicked off, they have won the battle between the ears on a big occasion as Pakistan sprayed the new balls and England dropped too short. Then when Australia bowled in defence of middling tallies, their pacemen took on the lessons and fashioned the wins that have qualified Australia for the semi-finals.

"I think when we looked at this wicket specifically that was our game plan, to keep wickets in hand," Warner said of Lord"s. "We knew up front Woakesey [Chris Woakes] was going to be challenging, obviously Jofra [Archer] as well with his pace.

"But I really think there was a lot of pace taken out of that wicket. It did seam a bit but there was just no real pace in that wicket. So credit to the way our bowlers came out and bowled, we knew early wickets was going to be the key and we managed to do that. You saw I think nine wickets taken by our fast bowlers which is exceptional.

"It"s always challenging. I was thinking back to the Pakistan game, it"s one of those things where you tighten up a little bit and you pounce on anything that"s short and if anything"s full, as we say you throw the kitchen sink at it. We were patient, we bought our time and the knock that Finchy played, to get a hundred there - I know he was disappointed not to go on - but he played an exceptional knock. And the little cameo that Kez [Alex Carey] did as well was fantastic and put us into a great position to put 280 on the board."

For this tournament at least, Australia now have well founded confidence that they have chosen the right method, one to which Warner has adapted by way of his own self-knowledge from 12 months away. A similar approach during the Ashes from a similar group of players would appear likely too.

While the question remains open as to how sustainable it all is - Warner, after all, did not become a dominant international batsman at Test level by simply hanging around and waiting for the bad ball - it appears the right approach for this moment. Time will tell whether Warner"s head stays full of Lewis Capaldi, or something livelier takes his place.

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