DON’T D WORRY, RRY, OW WE’RE STILL LL GOOD G MATES TES
WARNER VS SMITH
DAVID Warner has pleaded for an end to the arguing over whether Australia’s banned trio should have their suspensions reduced so they can be fast-tracked into the struggling national team.
As Warner laughed off suggestions of a feud with Steve Smith, the explosive opener said the increasingly bitter debate over whether their lengthy bans should be reduced was undermining the current team.
“At the end of the day, I’m sitting here for 12 months on the sideline,” Warner said at Coogee Oval, in his first public comments in Australia since the balltampering scandal in South Africa.
“That’s my take on it and that’s why I want everyone to keep being positive about the guys who are playing (for Australia) and pump them up because we can’t just sit here and say they’re going to be in, they’re not going to be in.”
Despite Warner’s best intentions, the issue isn’t going away after the Australian Cricketers’ Association initiated an appeal on their behalf, which has only deepened the public’s division.
Cricket Australia had previously rejected the notion of reducing the suspensions for Warner, Smith and Cameron Bancroft, but in the wake of the damning Longstaff review and the high-profile exits from CA, nothing can be ruled out.
“What the ACA do is they are representatives for us and we thank them for their support,” Warner said. “At the end of the day it’s quite fickle with the union or the ACA and Cricket Australia. As players we’re here to do a job and that’s to play premier cricket and work our backsides off to make cricket a fun game.”
Smith maintained silence after his Sutherland team beat Warner’s Randwick-Petersham club by three wickets yesterday.
The pair shook hands before and after the Sydney grade match and chatted several times on the field, with Warner saying the two were in regular contact.
“There’s been a lot of media talk that we don’t get along and that I’ve thrown him under the bus here and there, but it’s good comedy for us because we just sit back and laugh,” he said.
Warner said both he and Smith were enjoying playing grade cricket again because it had reminded them why they loved the game so much.
With their families watching from behind the boundary fence, the ugly fallout from “Sandpapergate” seemed a million miles away as Australia’s two best batsmen happily mingled with the big crowd after their highly anticipated clash at Coogee Oval.
Smith won their batting duel when he made a patient 48, while Warner departed cheaply for 13.
Smith hit just two boundaries before he was stumped while Warner also spanked just two fours before he cut a wide ball from Steve Waugh’s son, Austin, straight to backward point.
Both men trudged back to the pavilion, shaking their heads almost apologetically to the big crowd that had come out to see them play, before atoning by spending extra time signing autographs and chatting with patrons.
“It just puts it in perspective, we’ve been living in a bubble for a long time
and it’s great just to come back and enjoy cricket and remind yourself that’s it a fun game,” Warner said.
“That word play hard gets thrown a lot and a lot of people are talking about our behaviours, but at the end of the day we’re trying to play the game hard but in the right spirit and it’s quite challenging at times when you’re in the middle.
“But this brings a bit of a sense of reality back to you.”
Former Test all-rounder Shane Watson was in devastating form for Sutherland, smashing five fours and five sixes, while English import Daniel Bell-Drummond made a stylish 106.
Even if they have to complete their full 12-month bans, Warner and Smith will back in time for next year’s World Cup and the Ashes, and Warner said he wanted back in.
“Obviously the long form result is to get back into the baggy green and play the World Cup, but it’s a game at a time,” Warner said. “What happened was very disappointing, we put our hands up and we are ashamed of what happened, but we’re here to try and keep promoting cricket.”
Sutherland’s Steve Smith plays a shot before a big crowd at Coogee Oval yesterday. Pictures: Getty Images, Jenny EvansDavid Warner and Smith share a laugh and a handshake after the match.
Warner with his wife Candice, and daughter, Indi Rae.