Image courtesy of: The Metro
Warner promised to be “smarter” in the future
Australia opening batsman David Warner found himself in the same spot he was just over a month ago, publicly apologising for his emotions getting the better of him.
However, instead of the apology being about the verbal tirade he launched against two News Limited journalists on Twitter, it was directed at England’s ‘Golden Boy’ Joe Root, who was the victim of Warner’s fists of rage at the Walkabout bar in Birmingham on June 8.
Warner’s bar brawl antics saw him get suspended until the start of the first Ashes Test on July 10 at Trent Bridge, Nottingham.
In front of a roomful of journalists and pundits, Warner publicly admitted that his decision to punch Root was wrong and that he had to be “a bit smarter with what I do on and off the field” in the future.
Australia Test captain Michael Clarke branded Warner’s behaviour that night as “unacceptable”, but once again reiterated that the opening batsman’s actions would not have an effect on his chances of leading the country one day.
“I’m here today to apologise publicly and put my hand up and say I am responsible for my actions,” Warner said. “I am extremely remorseful. I have let my team-mates down, the support staff, myself and my family.”
Warner was also fined A$11,500 by Cricket Australia during his Code of Conduct hearing.
“I have accepted the punishment,” Warner added. “It is up to me to do everything I can to help the team to progress in the Champions Trophy, and move on to have a great preparation for the Ashes.”
Warner refused to elaborate on the details of what had happened that night, but admitted that he may have had one drink too many.
“I definitely remember the night,” he said. “It started out with a few drinks in the bar and as a team we went to the Walkabout. I made a mistake and I put my hand up.
“I have exchanged text messages with Joe. He accepted my apology, which I am thoroughly grateful for.”
However, the 26-year-old was also quick to deny that he had a drinking problem.
“I don’t think I have a drink problem at all,” he said. “I’ve got to make the right decisions at the right time. That night wasn’t a good time to go out and have a beer. We’d lost the game, and even though we’d had a day off we’d still lost. We don’t have curfews, but looking back I shouldn’t have been in that situation.”
Despite labelling Warner’s behaviour as “unacceptable” earlier, captain Clarke eventually came to Warner’s defence, stating that the punishment he had received was “quite harsh”.
“Although the punishment for David is quite harsh, that’s the reality when you play for the Australian cricket team,” Clarke said. “This is not an IPL team, this is not state cricket, it’s not county cricket, when you play for Australia there are standards you have to uphold.
“It’s probably not the right time for me to sit here and be bragging about David’s leadership qualities, I’ve said in the past that he does have a lot of leadership qualities, but right now as captain of this Australian team, he knows very clearly how I feel. His behaviour is unacceptable as an Australian cricketer.”
Clarke also told the press that Warner “deserves credit” for admitting to his mistakes and openly apologising about it.
“I respect the fact David has put his hand up and wants to move forward, has apologised to Joe, and acknowledged he has made a big mistake,” the Australian skipper said. “He does deserve credit for putting his hand up.”
The Australian captain also noted that the next couple of weeks would provide an ample opportunity for Warner to showcase his maturity.
Clarke also dismissed speculation and rumours that Warner’s Ashes campaign would suffer as a result of the incident.
“I’ve said for a long time it’s not what you say, it’s what you do, and this is an opportunity for Warner to show the world what he does rather than what he says,” Clarke said. “We’ll be 100% ready for the Ashes. There’s no doubt about it.”
Warner conceded he knew how lucky he was to still be a part of Australia’s Ashes squad, given the severity of the altercation.
“I’m grateful to still be on this tour,” he said. “I’ve got no cricket in the next month so I will have to go back into the nets and prepare as well as I can, and help my team-mates that I’ve let down as much as I can.
“It’s disappointing to have two incidents in a matter of months. It’s come three, four weeks after that incident out in India as well, so I have to keep moving on from this.”