Is David Warner growing up?

That question might be interpreted as patronising but it is meant sincerely.

The 29-year-old recently received the Allan Border Medal for best Australian player of the season and, with last month's arrival of daughter, Indi Rae, to join wife Candice and first born Ivy Mae, he appears to have bevelled the edges off a rough-sawn persona.

Warner's Captain Caveman antics - entrenched by hissing "speak English" at Indian batsman Rohit Sharma during an altercation last year, whacking English batsman Joe Root in the face at Birmingham's Walkabout bar in 2013, and getting into a tweeting stoush with a couple of veteran Australian journalists before that England tour - appear to be mellowing.

Advertisement

He appears to be a devoted father and, in his media conferences during the test series between New Zealand and Australia before Christmas, gave forthright answers which hinted more at a passionate sportsman than boorish sledger.

Still, crossing the line between banter and bullying, or amusing and arrogant, can be as narrow as the popping crease in a tight run-out.

Warner looks to have distanced himself from the Sharma situation, a circumstance which prompted New Zealand great Martin Crowe to call for cricket to introduce yellow and red cards.

In an excoriating Cricinfo column, Crowe wrote of Warner's "hideous energy".

He admitted Warner could play but said "he is the most juvenile cricketer I have seen".

Yet Warner has given every indication of improvement, both through his cricket and interview candour.

Once a legside slogger who played T20s and ODIs before making his first-class debut, Warner is now the Australian vice-captain, has 16 test centuries and was the fourth-fastest of his countrymen to 4000 test runs.

Finding sportspeople willing to proffer an opinion beyond their craft, while avoiding a scroll of cliches, can be unusual. The media are prone to devouring anything, especially when deadlines and space requirements loom.

But Warner has delivered.

For instance, he was asked last year for his thoughts on New Zealand captain (and Daily Mail columnist) Brendon McCullum's criticism of Steve Smith, when the Australian captain declined the chance to call back England's Ben Stokes for obstruction during an ODI.

"In my opinion it was something that was quite poor and immature on his behalf to make the comment about Steve," Warner said.

"His opinion is going to be heard worldwide but you can't be talking about the players the way he did."

By way of balance, Warner acknowledged McCullum had "done a great job with the Kiwis. He's trying to make them the world's most polite team, and well done to him".

Irrespective of your thoughts on Warner or McCullum, at least the Australian delivered a frank, genuinely-held belief. Such divergence of opinion, in a game sometimes steeped in homogeneity, must be celebrated.

If Warner continues in this candid vein, and without breaching others' human rights, he will be remembered as a real human being rather than a public relations-driven robot who can bat and field a bit.

That is to be commended as much as any cricket skill.