80 We will serve our full bans
DAVID Warner has pleaded for everyone to stop squabbling over whether he, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft should have their bans reduced so they can get back into the struggling Australian team.
As much as Warner would love to be playing for his country, the explosive opener said the debate over whether their lengthy suspensions should be reduced was undermining the current team.
In his first public comments since he returned to Australia after the ball tampering scandal in South Africa in March, Warner said he had accepted the idea that he would have to serve the full ban.
“At the end of the day I’m sitting here 12 months on the sideline,” Warner said after his highly-anticipated grade match against Smith at Coogee Oval.
“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 of whether the banned trio will make a quick return isn’t going away after the Australian Cricketers Association initiated an appeal on their behalf.
Cricket Australia had rejected the notion of reducing the suspensions, but in the wake of the damning Longstaff review and the high-profile exits from CA last week, nothing can be ruled out.
When asked whether the players had been contacted by the ACA about the appeals, Warner said they were leaving everything up to the union.
“What the ACA do is they are representatives for us and we thank them for their support,” Warner said.
Smith has not made any public comments since his teary press conference and maintained his vow of silence after his Sutherland team beat Warner’s Randwick Petersham club by three wickets.
The pair shook hands before and after the match and chatted several times on the field.
“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,” Warner said.
“We catch up with each other and text each other. We don’t read it all, but some of the fun stuff that the boys throw forward we just laugh at it.”
He said the two were loving the chance to play grade cricket, because it reminded them why they love the game.
“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,” he said. “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’s a fun game.” INTERNATIONAL CRICKET? SHEFFIELD SHIELD? BIG BASH LEAGUE?
David Warner cops a short one at Coogee Oval yesterday. Opposite page, clockwise from left: Warner’s autograph is in demand; Steve Smith rues his dismissal; Warner greets former teammate Shane Watson; and shakes hands with former Australian captain Steve Waugh. Pictures: GETTY IMAGES, JENNY EVANS