Warner has of­fi­cials on edge

Dis­graced opener set to face me­dia

Warwick Daily News - - Sport - ROBERT CRADDOCK

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.

Photo: aap

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