David Warner Arrives In Helicopter For BBL's Sydney Derby, Sledges Steve Smith To Royal Duck - Watch Videos

As promised, David Warner arrived for the Big Bash League's Sydney Derby via a helicopter before sledging on-field against his former Australia teammate Steve Smith. Watch the videos here

David Warner arrives in a helicopter (Left); Warner sledges former teammate Steve Smith (right)

Steve Smith, trying to intimidate Daniel Sams, walked across the stumps and played a pull shot. But Australia's new Test opener only managed to get a top edge. First ball and Sydney Sixers were 0/1 against Sydney Thunder in the Big Bash League's (BBL) version of the city derby. Moments ago, David Warner was there, up and close, getting on Smith's nerves. (More Cricket News)

Despite Smith's royal duck, the Sixers managed to post 151/7 and won the match by 19 runs at the iconic Sydney Cricket Ground, which had earlier served as a helipad, welcoming back Warner in the BBL fold. A royal duck, by the way, means an opener getting out without scoring off the first ball of the team's innings.

By the time the last Thunder wicket had fallen off the penultimate ball of the match, reports of Warner arriving in a chopper, and then sledging Smith had already hit the headlines.

Sledging, in itself, is an Aussie thing. Often referred to as banter between rivals, it is, in reality, more than that. The tone, the intention, and most importantly the stage, each one serves its purpose. Down Under, sledging is commonplace. Visiting cricket teams have stories to tell. Now practiced everywhere, it has earned a certain degree of notoriety.

But when two Aussies, representing different outfits, engaged in sledging, the so-called bantering is at its best. The good part, of course! The BBL, Australia's T20 cricket league, evidently allows such playfulness. That's what was witnessed during the Sydney derby on Friday (January 12, 2024).

"Nothing's distracting him. Nothing ever distracts him," Warner said as Smith arrived in the centre and prepared to take the guard. "He's got a mark on his foot there, so he might be fidgety about that."

Smith, for that matter of fact, is one fidgety batter. He takes every aspect of batting very seriously, from taking guard to adjusting his pads. "Little bit to the right," instructed Warner as Smith plodded his bat to align with the middle stump line, seeking the umpire's approval. "Mate, if you open the batting, you've got to mark it properly. One go only!"

What happened immediately after that banter, or sledging, was the fall of Steve Smith's wicket. A skier and caught at deep square leg by Nathan McAndrew. Warner's sledging worked, as is often the case, and a bemused Smith walked back without scoring. Watch it here:

In such a context, it's pertinent to talk about the Warner-Smith dynamics. The two legends of Australian cricket played for the state and national teams together and thrived in each other's company, even to the extent of being a 'partner in crime'.

However, their relationship got strained following the "Sandpapergate scandal" that rocked international cricket in March 2018. Smith, the former Aussie captain, was reportedly not happy with Warner for not taking more ownership of the plot to use sandpaper. Soon after the third Test against South Africa, both were suspended. After months on the sidelines, they were eventually reintegrated into the national set-up, and have since emerged stronger. 

When they faced off for the first since the ban, in November of that year in a Sydney grade match, they hugged and embraced each other, dispelling the rumours of a feud. After the match, Warner even said "There's been a lot of media talk there that we don't get along and that I've thrown him under the bus here and there... It's good comedy for us because we enjoy and just sit back and laugh."

Fast forward to 2024, Smith will replace his former deputy as Australia's new Test opener, starting with the series against visiting West Indies, while the 'retired' Warner will look to play his final international games on home soil during the T20 International leg.