Warner plea to halt talk on bans
DAVID Warner has pleaded for everyone to stop squabbling over whether he, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft should have their suspensions 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 bans 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 in Sydney.
“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.”
Smith came out on top in yesterday’s heavyweight clash with Warner after the two banished batsmen combined for a one-two knockout win in the publicity war to be reinstated to the national team.
While Cricket Australia lurches from one disaster to the next, the country’s two premier batsmen put the game back in the spotlight after featuring in one of the biggest matches played in the Sydney grade competition.
Smith triumphed in their head-to-head batting duel when he made a patient 48 for Sutherland after the explosive Warner fell cheaply with just 13 runs to his name.
Sutherland also won the limited-overs first grade match by three wickets with two balls to spare after overhauling Randwick Petersham’s total of 8/267.
Batting at three, Smith hit just two boundaries before he lost his wicket just when he looked set for a bigger score.
Warner also spanked just two boundaries off the 16 balls he faced before he cut a wide ball from Steve Waugh’s son Austin straight to Dan Fallins at backward point, who held a sharp catch.
Both men trudged back to the pavilion, shaking their heads almost apologetically, before spending time signing autographs and mingling with the crowd.
Smith bowled 10 overs and picked up the key wicket of English import Daniel BellDrummond, who made a stylish 106 from 130 deliveries in his first match since arriving in Australia for the summer.
GRASSROOTS CLASH: Steve Smith on the attack for Sutherland against David Warner's RandwickPetersham, the first time the banned stars have come face-to-face on the field. Above left, Warner chats with Steve Waugh and, right, Smith with his dog Charlie. Pictures: JENNY EVANS