A lot has been written about poor old Warner over the last few weeks. People have quite rightly raised doubts about him due to his non-existant footwork(not true really and i will explain why) and many have of course suggested he does not have the temperament to play at the top level .The whole Joe Root fiasco have led others who are a bit more cognizant of Warner's personality write him off as a disaster waiting to happen.
Nevertheless, I truly believe he has the ability to become extremely successful, maybe one of the best test batsmen of all time. Why is it that I think this?
Well for one, footwork is misunderstood in cricket by many people and i might do well to point out that many successful players didnt have excellent 'ballet dancer' footwork- Viv Richards for one...he certainly was no lead-footed wonder but he wasn't a footwork mafia to the extent of a Dravid, Lara, Gavaskar or Greg Chappell. Steve Waugh had less than worldclass footwork and Gordon Greenidge wasn't known for his footwork either. Warner is probably the extreme case example and the impatient ones must be dying to pop the question 'what makes him so good?'
The reason, however, is simple and subtle in equal measure. What must be asked is, what is one trying to achieve with footwork? If this question is answered without undue complexity, the answer is obvious. As a test batsman, your objective is to be in control of your shots and put em where you want to. Failing to do that, you don't give your wicket away. In order to do that, you need to have a few crucial components aside from 'technique'. A big heart for one, judicious shot-selection for two and excellent timing for three. Anyone who's watched Warmer for a long period of time will admit that he has all three in abundance. He has the guts required to bat at the highest level and he doesn't shy away from any bowler. This is not a question about his success but a question about his attitude. His timing and shot selection of his are top notch too. Of course, technique is also important, but I shall address that now..
The biggest 'physical' thing you need to accomplish in order to have control over your shots is to have excellent balance during point of contact. It is absolutely critical and essential. Warner unquestionably has this. He rarely reaches for the ball and rarely is he over/underbalanced for a shot. He accomplishes this by playing late and making deft wrist adjustments at the last second. And that he accomplishes extremely well due to his brilliantly quick eye. Warner to me, seems to have one of the quickest eyes ever to play test cricket. He plays the ball very very late and is almost one of the 'latest' players of the ball. He plays the ball 'under his nose', that is, his point of contact is almost directly under his nose and that is the optimal place for controlling your shots. It also is a product of his superb eye and hand-eye co-ordination.
In order to play the ball with great balance consistently, you absolutely must do one thing footwork-wise: you MUST get to the pitch of the ball. Warnerdoes this by placing his foot down and he gauges the pitch of the ball excellently. Arguably, the second biggest physical thing to batting consistency is playing with a 'still head'. That is to say, your head must be as still as possible during the point of contact. After watching Warner for a while, I've come to the realisation that his head is more still and composed than the majority of other batsmen I've seen in recent years, even more so than Tendulkar, Dravid, Ponting,and Kallis. Watch some replays on YouTube of some of these other supposed 'greats' batting, and you'll notice that there is almost always a little wobble of the head observable. With Warner, however, this is simply not present.
To continue with the topic of technique, another thing I notice in Warner is that he plays with an extremely straight bat and when he does go across the line, his bat angle is almost perpendicular to the trajectory of the ball. This is essential in 'technique' and is a forte of almost all the great batmsen (I'm seeing a pattern emerge here). Balance is essential during the point of contact. Most players seem to achieve this through footwork- to get their body into position and perfect balance for the proper execution of the shot. Warner however, completely eschews this approach, but yet achieves exactly the same results- he achieves perfect balance during point of contact with brilliant hand-eye coordination alongside a pair of one-in-a-million eyes.
One additional thing; Warner has soft hands. I've seen him use soft hands many times when he edges ball and as a result it often drops just a bit short of the slip cordon. That is the critical difference between Warner and a dasher like Ian Bell. Bell doesn't play the ball under his nose and, in fact, plays it earlier than many people. As a result, he is reaching for the ball and is often overbalanced during shot-execution. Another thing observable in a dasher like Bell, is that they don't understand the concept of soft hands whatsoever. He grips the bat like a vice and his wrists are almost never soft regardless of how he has hit the ball. It doesn't help, of course, that Bell's shot selection is one of the poorest.
I think I've rambled on a bit here, but yes, there you go. This is why I think Warner is likely to be of the greatest batsmen ever to play test cricket: he achieves everything balance-wise and poise-wise as a master technician achieves through excellent hand-eye coordination and brilliant eyes. Along with that, he does the other things right- shot selection, attitude, timing and so on. Don't write him off yet. He just needs to get over his emotional problems.