If Warner keeps ‘sook­ing’, he shall be sure to find some­thing he doesn’t like

Weekend Post (South Africa) - - SPORT - KEVIN McCAL­LUM

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.

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