Have Warner’s and Australia’s Ashes hopes gone Walkabout?

Layth Yousif Roar Guru

By Layth Yousif, Layth Yousif is a Roar Guru

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    Dave Warner's set Australia up with some good batting in the first innings. (AP Photo/Andrew Brownbill)

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    Whether you view David Warner’s path to international cricket as being progressive, eccentric or flawed, you may be of the opinion that his withdrawal from it might be slightly irregular as well.

    As everyone knows, in 2009 the Paddington-born opening batsman became the first Australian cricketer for over 100 years to play for Australia without having primarily sampled first class cricket.

    The last time it occurred Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina had just been published, back in 1877. The general theme of insecurities laid bare that punctuate the book could act as a metaphor for Warner.

    He started well enough on his international debut, hitting a confident 89 off 43 balls in a Twenty20 international at the MCG against South Africa.

    His technique as a left hand bat looked good too. He also achieved a NSW one-day record at the time of 165, and smashed a formidable 97 from 54 balls in the Ford Ranger Cup.

    In all that year he scored 390 runs in that comp at an average of 55 and a strike rate of 129.

    An IPL contract followed with the Delhi Daredevils, and various commercial spin-offs followed including a lucrative deal to use a two-sided bat.

    Quite simply he was a 21st century type of cricketer – dynamic, fearless, powerful and an excellent fielder to boot – Warner was used as a substitute fielder in Australia’s Test against South Africa in Perth in 2005-06.

    He also happened to ply his trade in different competitions in different continents, even if the IPL was described by renowned Australian journalist Robert Craddock as “the sunniest of places for the shadiest people”.

    In 2011, he achieved success with the red ball too, carrying his bat in what was only his second Test – something Hayden and Langer never achieved – against New Zealand in what ultimately was a stunning win for the Black Caps.

    And after 19 Tests he averages a solid 39, which is certainly a platform to build on.

    Yet Warner has a history of landing in trouble. A keen surfer, in 2007-08 Warner completed his second year with New South Wales, but after spending his winter at the Academy, he was sent home prematurely for general untidiness.

    In the early hours of Sunday morning (GMT) the England and Wales Cricket Board alleged in a statement that there was an “unprovoked physical attack” on an England team player – later confirmed to be Joe Root – in an Australian themed pub called The Walkabout in Birmingham.

    Let’s get things straight, according to eye-witness accounts (I called the pub myself but was issued with a stern “no comment”) I gather it wasn’t a vicious assault in any understanding of the term.

    An unnamed source described it as a ‘glancing blow’. Warner has already apologised to Root. Alastair Cook has called for everyone to move on, and George Bailey called it “minor” – even if Jason Gillespie called Warner’s actions “unacceptable”.

    I know the pub well having visited it after various cricket and football matches in the city. I have seen anti-social behaviour occur and have seen bouncers react very quickly to it.

    The fact that the bouncers didn’t even throw anyone out, nor were the Police called indicates it was a minor transgression.

    A generation or two previously, after the initial flare-up hands would have been shaken, more beers bought and there wouldn’t have been a second thought given about the incidents, unless it was brought up years later as an after-dinner thought.

    But the Cricket Australia issued its own damming statement: “Warner has been reported for breaching ‘Rule 6: Unbecoming Behaviour…Team management have stood down Warner pending the outcome of a hearing.”

    If you’re going to be labelled a 21st century professional cricketer, then I’m afraid you’re going to have to behave a lot better than that David. In certain industries Warner would be described as having ‘previous’.

    Whether his prior offences influenced his dropping for the Kiwi game that was abandoned is a moot point. (Does a lot of money affect a young sport star’s behaviour? Discuss).

    As recently as January this year during the ODI versus Sri Lanka at the SCG he received an official reprimand after pleading guilty to a Level 1 breach of the ICC Code of Conduct.

    It stemmed from him standing his ground after being given out lbw, before eventually leaving but shaking his head.

    The fact he may have been hard done by as replays showed he had got an inside edge to a Thisara Perera delivery before striking his pad made no difference: he was charged with breaching Article 2.1.3 relating to “showing dissent at an umpire’s decision during an international match”.

    He was also fined the maximum possible for breaching rule 6 ($5,570) after a Twitter spat with journalists in May, accusing them of talking “sh*t”.

    Conn, who had obliquely questioned the integrity of certain aspects of the IPL in the wake of the spot fixing scandal that threatens to engulf the tournament – or at least its reputation overseas – was met with a furious response from Warner.

    Conn then tweeted back witheringly “You lose 4-0 in India, don’t make a run, and you want to be tickled on the tummy? Win the Ashes and get back to me.”

    For Warner it was unedifying as it was avoidable. As much as twitter is lauded as a vital tool in the social media cannon, the fact is unless you’re as erudite as @eddiecowan or as pithy as a Ritchie Benaud parody account, perhaps it is best to leave the social networking until you’ve finishing playing – or at the very least delay sending a response until you’re less irate.

    Incidentally his fine is nowhere near the largest for a Twitter indiscretion.

    Ex-Arsenal footballer Ashley Cole was fined two weeks wages last season – approx. £260,000 – for calling the Football Association “tw*ts”. Just out of interest can anyone find an example which tops that amount?

    Taken individually they are issues that could happen to anyone over the course of a modern career.

    Collectively they are more damming, especially if you add the list to the fact that he failed to score in the India and Windies ICC warm up games, and has only managed double figures in one of his last seven innings, along with unremarkable form in the IPL, not to mention a stodgy nine off 21 balls prior to his night in the Walkabout.

    You could argue a tipping point could be reached sooner rather than later.

    In cricketing terms a day of reckoning could be overdue, certainly when you consider that he is one of five openers in the squad.

    Yet, more importantly, in a country where violent crimes fuelled by alcohol are on the rise, a sportsman in the public eye, who has just committed an alcohol-influenced attack that must be labelled at the very least as unduly aggressive, at worst violent and reprehensible, surely cannot expect much leniency.

    There are already reverberations of Andrew Symonds being sent home from the World T20 tournament in England in 2009, not to mention Punter’s infamous night out in the ‘Cross many moons ago.

    The difference being Ricky Ponting quickly learnt from that error and worked his socks off to deservedly reside where the great men live in cricket.

    The simple answer is for Warner to keep his head down, score runs and show more self-restraint off the pitch. Which is what the legendary Ponting did.

    But will Warner do the same? Does he need to admit to a drinking problem, or at least anger management issues, or is it simply a case of curbing his booze intake that regrettably fires an excitable temperament?

    Just how Warner (and Cricket Australia) react to this latest charge is just another subplot in this increasingly pressurised summer, however.

    More to the point, will the newest problem to hit the malfunctioning Australian cricket team cause them to pull together more, or will we see resultant discipline subside again, fresh on the heels of “homeworkgate”, to reveal large fissures in the squad, weeks before the commencement of the biggest prize of all?

    To cap it all before the game at Edgbaston last Saturday in which Australia lost by 48 runs, a message appeared on the big screen from the injured Michael Clark.

    It read “Please remember to drink within your boundaries.”

    As Tolstoy wrote in Anna Karenina: “Happy families are all alike; every unhappy family is unhappy in its own way.”

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    The Crowd Says (70)

    • June 13th 2013 @ 10:15am
      Todd said | June 13th 2013 @ 10:15am | ! Report

      The form that Rogers and Klinger are in at the moment suggests that Warner being sacked from the Ashes would actually be a blessing!

      • June 13th 2013 @ 11:19am
        King Kebab said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:19am | ! Report

        Here! Here!

        Sack the bogan!

      • June 13th 2013 @ 7:37pm
        Chairman Kaga said | June 13th 2013 @ 7:37pm | ! Report

        Warner needs to leave.

        Also he is not exactly test match standard as a player. They worked him out long ago, just an axe murderer/slogger. He has a great eye for the ball, but a crap technique.

        It’s over Warner.

    • June 13th 2013 @ 10:20am
      Dave_UK said | June 13th 2013 @ 10:20am | ! Report

      He’s the gift that keeps on giving

      Please, please don’t send him home, we’ve got 6 more months of this comedy act to look forward to 🙂

    • June 13th 2013 @ 11:23am
      King Kebab said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      OK, if Warner opens in the Ashes we are boned.

      My XI for first Test:

      Watson (no one else available)


      • June 13th 2013 @ 11:41am
        Riddos said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

        I guess that’s about as good as we’ll get. Shuffling deckchairs really.

      • June 13th 2013 @ 12:00pm
        Christo the Daddyo said | June 13th 2013 @ 12:00pm | ! Report

        And that’s assuming Clarke’s back recovers AND stays healthy. God help them if it doesn’t.

      • Roar Pro

        June 13th 2013 @ 12:08pm
        Anthony D'Arcy said | June 13th 2013 @ 12:08pm | ! Report

        Khawaja at 6. Give him some time in the middle order like we did for Clarke, Martyn and Ponting so he doesn’t end up failing and losing confidence. Put Hughes in at 3 so he either makes runs or fails and then we can finally stop talking about him.

    • June 13th 2013 @ 11:38am
      kramer said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      The problem seems to be he is emotionally weak!

      Being a ticking time bomb the pom’s will prod and prod until he explodes, i don’t think he will be able to help himself!

      If that’s the case he would rather win the battle than win the war which is pretty selfish, and for us to win the ashes they need to be able to stick together. Because lets face it, the pom’s have more talent!

      Sorry about the cliche but this Australian ashes team need’s to be a champion team and not a team of champion’s. The no dickhead swans policy must really apply for us to regain the ashes and Warner doesn’t seem to fit into this structure.

      • June 13th 2013 @ 2:40pm
        MervUK said | June 13th 2013 @ 2:40pm | ! Report

        That’s an excellent point Kramer, he obviously can’t control his emotions…Hardly a test match temperament. I reckon Graeme swann might bowl at him in a fake beard next time. Well if there is a next time

    • June 13th 2013 @ 11:38am
      Christo the Daddyo said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:38am | ! Report

      The more important question for me is – why is a so-called “professional” sportsman out at 2am getting on the turps a couple of days before a game? It’s unprofessional and disrespectful to your captain, coach and team-mates. Then again, seeing as half the team were also there speaks volumes about how professional this current mob is.

      Describing them as rabble is about as kind as I can get at the moment.

      • June 13th 2013 @ 12:29pm
        Timmuh said | June 13th 2013 @ 12:29pm | ! Report

        Its the champions trophy. Why not go out and get hammered? Its just yet another meainingless limited overs tournament. The only issue would be potential impact on fitness for upcoming Tests.

        • June 13th 2013 @ 12:45pm
          Moe Green said | June 13th 2013 @ 12:45pm | ! Report

          I like how you have taken the current attitude of the Australian Cricket er “Team” and projected it as your own.

          You have captured their lack of respect for each other. Their lack of respect in representing Australia, and highlighted their self indulgent attitudes, all in a four sentence post Timmuh. High five.

          • June 13th 2013 @ 1:20pm
            Christo the Daddyo said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:20pm | ! Report


            • June 13th 2013 @ 2:38pm
              Nick said | June 13th 2013 @ 2:38pm | ! Report


      • June 13th 2013 @ 1:08pm
        binge away! said | June 13th 2013 @ 1:08pm | ! Report

        “Why not go out and get hammered?”

        And Timmuh just about sums up the the problem with today’s sports people and people in general!

        I know i know Timmuh i need to have a bag of cement or stop being a sook or get to the pub and get hammered or blah blah blah!

        Also, really getting hammered could have an effect on your fitness and performance, well knock me down with a feather!

        • June 13th 2013 @ 2:59pm
          Timmuh said | June 13th 2013 @ 2:59pm | ! Report

          I was being a little flippant, simply because I don’t value the tournament at all. He did something monumentally stupid, and ideally players would not be out very late and drinking heavily. I’d be much more concerned if it starts happening in a Test series, but the point others have made about professionalism applyng at all times is valid.
          Given recent issues with squad discipline I’m a little surprised this is allowed to go on; but only a little.

          For the record, I rarely drink these days (probably no more than 3-4 times a year) and when I do its normally only a couple – so no, I don’t think you should “get to the pub and get hammered”.

    • June 13th 2013 @ 11:41am
      buddha9 said | June 13th 2013 @ 11:41am | ! Report

      cowen watson rogers bailey clarke kawaja haddin pattison faulkner mcKay lyon

      i like bailey — he seems to know his own game and plays very conservatively around it — those sort of players are always good test players, he’s a compiler like trott and border — he’ll score a lot of runs for austrailia in all forms – he rarely plays a rash shot — faulkner looks like a dangerous, intelligent and strong bowler mcKay bowls good line and length attacks the off stump and is very strong — i’ve also been impressed by mitchell johnson’s bowling recently

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