“I’m here to accept my responsibility for my part that I played in day three,” was the well-rehearsed line used by David Warner to answer questions at his press conference.
After the press conference Warner went to Twitter to explain that he was restricted with his responses due to the formal process by Cricket Australia. But to the eye of the Australian public it appeared as an arrogant attitude by a player who has always been an outsider in the game of cricket.
From the beginning the public believed Warner was the instigator in the ball-tampering saga.
Already in the South African Test series Warner had been involved in a bust-up with South African Quinton de Kock and was the centre of ball-tampering allegations in the second Test when the Proteas made complaints about the bandage on his thumb.
1/3 I know there are unanswered questions and lots of them. I completely understand. In time i will do my best to answer them all. But there is a formal CA process to follow.
— David Warner (@davidwarner31) March 31, 2018
Yes, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft are also to blame for sandpaper-gate, but both have the sympathy of the public. Smith is the golden boy of Australian cricket, described by many as Australia’s best batsman since Sir Donald Bradman. He is a traditional player who can bat all day and score tons of run.
Bancroft also has the support of the public because he is the rookie in the squad willing to do anything to attain the respect of the leaders.
Warner, however, has always been opposed to the traditions of the game. He made his international debut in a Twenty20 match against South Africa at the MCG before representing his state in a first-class match, being the first player since 1877 to do so.
Questions have always been raised about Warner’s ability in the long form of the game given his aggressive style of play, but when he was given the opportunity to represent Australia at Test level, he became the most destructive player in the game, scoring 6363 runs and accumulating 21 centuries.
Warner’s most memorable century was the one he scored before lunch on the opening day of play against Pakistan at the SCG in 2017.
The way Warner went about his Test cricket was opposite to anything seen prior. He was not a player who could be relied on to bat all day, but he would not play a defensive shot or scrapper home for a single.
Warner is a traditionalist rebel, which is why fans never fully accepted his style of play.
The win-at-all-costs mentality has drawn criticism from fans. Cricket is a gentleman’s game that should be played in the right spirit. That’s why when it was announced Steve Smith had asked for the wicket microphones to be turned down so the Australian players could sledge the South Africans, fans questioned if they supported this side as much as those who wore the baggie green in the years prior.
An instigator of the sledging culture in Australian cricket was David Warner.
“I’m hearing it (sledging) is part of the game – that’s rubbish, it’s not part of the game,” Ian Chappell told 3AW’s Sportsday.
“He (Warner) decided he’d had enough of that, he didn’t want to do it, he didn’t want to be the attack dog, now for some reason or other he’s back as the attack dog.”
“The more you allow players to talk on the field, the more likelihood there is something personal will be said.”
And that was the case when Quinton de Kock retaliated to the baiting from Warner.
All three players have the opportunity to return to the national team one day. Smith’s on-field ability will guarantee him a spot in the team once his 12-month ban concludes. Bancroft is also likely to once again play for Australia given he is only 25 years old and has shown glimpses of star quality.
But will Warner ever play for country again? According to reports, Warner went ‘rogue’ after the ball-tampering saga and was angry at his teammates, who distanced themselves from the incident.
Warner feels like a scapegoat, and from his lack of responses at his press conference, he appears eager to confess all at the right time, which will surely rock the Australian team.
If Warner does come out with some explosive statements, then there is no chance he could return to the team.
Warner said he is “resigned to the fact” that he may never play for Australia again. But the real question is: do we want Warner to play for Australia again?