If Warner keeps ‘sooking’, he shall be sure to find something he doesn’t like
AS David Warner found out this week, ask and it shall be given to you, and if you “f**king sook” you shall find.
And he found it in the South African with the teenage face, innocent eyes and, apparently, a devilish tongue. He found it because he pushed and pushed and pushed for a reaction.
He and Australia “head-butted” a “line” whose limit they had decided, and when the head-but-tee became the head-butter, Warner ran out of words and fell headlong into “hold me back” fury.
It was stupid and ugly. When Warner calms down, possibly some- time in April, he may reflect that he has done his wife a great disservice with his macho chest-thumping.
What his wife did in the past should be of no concern to any of us, no matter where and who she did it with. But now he has reminded us of it again, dragged it out of the gutter into the daylight and hung it on the washing line for all to see.
His wife must be mortified.
This will be in the minds of all on the field and, from what I have been told, in the stands in Port Elizabeth. Fans have planned songs, one to the tune of Daddy Cool. There will be banners by the dozens and chirps by the hundreds.
This has made the series spicier and a little ugly. As Mike Atherton wrote in The Times this week: “Were those involved able to remove the blinkers and see how ridiculous they look, it might help.” Warner does not help himself. The fluff around him being a reformed character, different from the nutter who tried to punch Joe Root for wearing a fake beard, has been blown away. He is thoroughly unlikeable, a stain on this fine Australian team.
On Twitter, Christoph Groenewald sent me this message: “I have played cricket for almost 40 years. I have NEVER seen a fielder walk up to a new batsman like Warner did to Amla and talk to him the entire way from the fence to the crease. That is the sort of stuff the ICC must stamp out. There is no place for verbal abuse at any level.”
Australia will continue to roll out the fable of the “line”. They know when not to cross it. Like when they dropped a ball in contempt beside AB de Villiers after he was run out.
Australian cricket writer Brydon Coverdale of ESPNcricinfo defined the “line” perfectly: “Law 43: The line. Law 43.1: Head-butting the line – A player may head-butt the line as hard and as often as he likes, provided some part of his self-righteousness remains grounded behind it. Law 43.2: Crossing the line – To be judged at the sole discretion of Australian cricketers.”
In 2014, Faf du Plessis described the sledging Australians at New- lands as being like a “pack of dogs”. And so they howled and barked at him all through his innings.
Did Cricket Australia think it was in bad taste? Not a jot.
Their chief executive, James Sutherland, said: “That’s just typical childish cricketers, but he asked for that with his comments a few days earlier.” He asked for it.
In 2015, Warner was called a “thug” by the late Martin Crowe for his clash with India’s Rohit Sharma during an ODI in Melbourne. Sharma had the cheek to run on an overthrow from Warner. Warner confronted him, telling him to “speak English”, a blatant racist slur. After hearing “numer- ous accounts from respected cricket people, there is a growing concern that David Warner’s thuggish behaviour has gone too far”, Crowe wrote for ESPNcricinfo.
“As Ian Chappell has said often recently, soon enough someone will get king-hit on a cricket field. Warner may just be the one who gets pinned by someone in retaliation. And if it is him who gets hammered, it will be overdue, if wrong.”
Warner has said he will keep going hard at the opposition, testing the “line”. I don’t know if he knows what he is “sooking”, but he found something he didn’t like in Durban. He will be sure to find it in Port Elizabeth.