Warner has officials on edge
Disgraced opener set to face media
CRICKET: Not for the first time in his career, David Warner has become the most feared man in world cricket.
The difference this time is it is not his ultra-large bat that is the weapon of concern – it is his tongue that could become a weapon of mass destruction.
Warner will face the media in Sydney today and Cricket Australia officials have never been more nervous about what a player could say.
That is understandable, but let’s just make one key point.
This is no time for cover-ups.
However much it hurts the wider world, Warner must tell the truth, no matter how sordid and chastening it may seem.
Warner went rogue earlier in the week following the balltampering affair in South Africa, taking himself off the team app.
He has had minimal contact with his teammates since.
Apart from a few words at Sydney Airport on his arrival home, Warner’s only public utterance came via social media.
“Mistakes have been made which have damaged cricket,” he wrote. “I apologise for my part and take responsibility for it.”
It is this final sentence – or at least the first five words of it – that has created immense concern at CA. “For my part” could mean Warner naming names not already identified.
CA’s best-case scenario was for Warner to take responsibility for the whole thing. For hatching the plan. For asking Cameron Bancroft to do it. For even telling him how to do it.
But he didn’t. The suspicion is there are other parts and the worry is they will stretch further than Bancroft and Steve Smith.
Smith and Bancroft have already been named and banned, head coach Darren Lehmann has denied involvement but quit, but the involvement of any other players remains a vexed mystery.
A CA investigation (yes, I know, Caesar investigating Caesar) has found all other players are in the clear, but no one knows the full story like Warner.
Will he incriminate others or just take a bullet? And if he appeals his sentence will he go down firing at his appeal hearing?
It is easy to say Warner, in national interests, should hold his tongue today but there has been enough of that already.
Australian fans want him to tell the truth. If other players or coaches knew of the scandal, he must identify who they were.
And what of the wider culture of ball tampering. Barring the press conference being hijacked as Smith’s was by some faceless imbecile from a low-rent FM radio show, there is a key question that needs to be asked.
It is: “David, given that you taught Bancroft how to use sandpaper on the ball, please tell us how, when and why you developed this technique ... obviously there’s no need to do it in the dressing room and training because the balls you use in a game cannot be accessed off the field. So did you develop it in the middle?”
The truth can set Warner free. This is not a time for protecting anyone.
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