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West Indian Kieran Powell switches to baseball but David Warner won’t follow up on trial

Settled: Australian vice-captain David Warner won’t be swapping his blade for a baseball bat. Photo: Andy BrownbillTHE TONK

The news that former West Indies opener Kieran Powell is hoping to break into Major League Baseball reminded the Tonk of a chat we had with David Warner about the very same subject just before the last Ashes in England.

Since Warner broke onto the international scene as a Twenty20 slugger in 2009, it’s been suggested more than once that he could be just the kind of player who could successfully make the switch himself.

And as the now Australian vice-captain told us back in June, the thought had crossed his mind as well, to the point that he explored the idea in the US. The salaries in the MLB are out of this world but Warner is on far too good a wicket – he’s driving a Lamborghini Huracan, for starters – to go back to square one in a new sport.

“I won’t say I trialled but I did have a hit on the Gold Coast a little while back and I went to America as well to have a look at a few things,” Warner told the Tonk on tour in Essex .

“But it’s not like being a Jarryd Hayne. Going from cricket to where the ball is not bouncing compared to [Hayne], where he’s still running and still using the ball. I think it’s a bit different to put all my eggs in one basket and go there and try baseball.

“I don’t know what it’s been like for him but I know if you go from cricket, being a world-renowned player, and you go to baseball, you’re back down the pecking order, you’ve got to start all over again. It was hard enough to get where I am today, to get the baggy green, to say I’m prepared to do that for another seven or eight years.

“I’ll be 35, 36. And in a Major League career a good player probably only gets two to three years. A great player, the same as in cricket, can go for 10 to 15 years. But what are you doing it for? I’ve got no ambitions to be MVP of the Major League Baseball. I’d never grown up watching it. Clearly if I was to go and try baseball, it’d be about the money, that’s all it would be.”

Powell, meanwhile, is looking for a new start after playing the last of his 21 Tests in August 2014. As he told our colleague Daniel Cherny from Florida on Thursday: “An opportunity came about after a few discrepancies with the West Indies Cricket Board and I decided to take some time off from cricket and some footage of me playing cricket was seen by the LA Dodgers.”

Pipe Man keeps the faith

You never know who you might run into lurking around the SCG in the days before a Test match. On Thursday we were thrilled to see one of the West Indies’ most famous supporters, Keith the Pipe Man, in town and still following his beloved team despite their struggles. Keith (real surname: van Anderson) has seen the West Indies in every Test-playing country but Zimbabwe and Bangladesh and struck up close friendships with the likes of Clive Lloyd and Courtney Walsh, who gave him his nickname, while watching them play county cricket in England in the eighties. He also joined the current side for their Christmas dinner at the Langham Hotel in Melbourne last week. The 64-year-old doesn’t actually smoke his pipe anymore – a battle with cancer brought a stop to that – but he still carries it around. After being given 12 months to live in 2004, Keith is still going strong and as he reflects on the lowly state of West Indies cricket he recalls a conversation over a beer with Brian Lara and Dwight Yorke at the Grand Chancellor Hotel in Adelaide. Lara had broken Allan Border’s record for most Test runs and Keith was then fighting cancer. “Brian said, ‘In five years’ time the West Indies will be back to where they were’. And I said to Brian, ‘Not in my lifetime!’.”

Popeye eyes the Lamborghini

Also in Sydney is an honorary Australian team member, Geoff “Popeye” Goodwin, who for years has driven the Australian team bus whenever they are in town. Popeye is a popular figure with the players and apparently he and his wife Suzanne will spend time staying with Warner and his wife Candice Falzon at their Coogee home while they’re here. But he won’t be driving the bus. Perhaps Warner will give him the keys to the Lamborghini?

Smith looks for first win of year

Steve Smith will get his first look at the SCG pitch before the Sydney Test on Friday but he will have half an eye down the road at Randwick racecourse. His nag, Cauthen’s Power, is running in the last.

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