Does anyone else see the irony in David Warner’s request that Rohit Sharma “speak English” in Australia’s clash with India on Sunday night? To say that I was dumbfounded might be an understatement.
I couldn’t help but think about the message that he was attempting to convey to the Indian batsman.
Was he a little frustrated that he couldn’t understand the batsmen discussing tactics in the middle of the pitch between overs and he felt that this was an unfair advantage? Surely not.
Does he feel that everyone on this planet should make an attempt to speak the ‘proper’ language of the human race, particularly while they are in this country? I hope not.
Or is this another brainless insult designed to offend, insult and merely offer a distraction to an opposition player who is in fact performing at a very high level and making his, and the Australian team’s life, a little too difficult? In short, sledging? I think so.
Back to the irony. Having listened to Warner appear regularly on Sydney radio over the last few years I have been entertained by his somewhat loose grasp of language and ability to destroy notions of syntax, tense and sentence structure. In his presentation of seemingly illogical arguments, which appear intended to divert attention away from his own actions and maintain popularity among those not yet convinced of his lack of class, Warner displays an inability to entertain even the most mild form of repentance for his actions.
Tracing all the way back to the incident with English batsman Joe Root prior to the 2013 Ashes, Cricket Australia has taken a very soft approach towards Warner and perhaps saw no other course of action other than the fine they issued this week.
Having backed themselves into a corner due to weak responses on so many occasions in the past, the camel’s back may have been finally broken with Cricket Australia’s reaction to this latest indiscretion. Looking back on the Aussie opener’s career it was astonishing how often I read that word – indiscretion.
I am sure my place of employment would label my punching of a colleague or co-worker as something slightly worse. Assault perhaps?
Michael Clarke clearly stated that Warner’s behaviour on the night in question was “unacceptable for an Australian cricketer”. At first glance this sounds quite firm and formidable. Yet the paltry fine of $11,500 and four-week suspension appear more in line with Clarke’s supplementary comment which described the incident as an “unwelcome distraction”.
The infamous ‘no show’ for Randwick-Petersham in 2013, leaving only ten men in the field also reeked of selfishness and ego.
Let’s not forget the late night Twitter rant directed at two well respected journalists. Warner suggested that he was merely “defending himself” after he felt implicated in a story suggesting inappropriate behaviour in the Indian Premier League ranks.
His captain’s stance was clear stating that Warner was “a great man and I love playing cricket with him”. I am sorry Mr Clarke but he must be a very different sort of great man to my late grandfather and very different to the one that I struggle so desperately to be each day.
Clarke did also say that Warner’s behaviour was “unacceptable”. Mmm… do I see a pattern emerging here?
After supporting Warner’s aggression coach Darren Lehman showed little intention of encouraging a shift in the way the team play.
“We’re always going to teeter pretty close to it,” he said.
Despite the support of those closest to him Warner then apologised the following morning. Surely it is time for Warner to eat a little humble pie and realise the immense talent with which he is blessed and look as his selection in our most glorified and romanticised national team in a new light with a more mature perspective.
Or more bluntly, as a colleague wrote on The Roar in October 2013, perhaps Warner should “pull his head in and recognise the generous opportunities he has been given to represent his country”.
Perhaps Warner should begin to worry a little less about the language and expressions of others and be a little more concerned about his own actions and the model of unprofessionalism, bullying and brutish behaviour that he is presenting. Not only does the cricket watching public have to deal with this, young people with a love for his brilliant, flamboyant and powerful batting do not need to have his distasteful behaviour influencing their development as young cricketers.
The fact that Warner now has a child of his own should potentially act as a moderating factor in his life, yet it appears that even after the arrival of his beautiful child he has continued with his tendency to cross the line and find ways to offend those around the game.
The tragic passing of Phil Hughes offered us all the opportunity to look at things from a more human perspective as we entered a jam packed summer of sport and cricket in particular.
Hughes’ influence will reverberate for many years to come, yet the efforts in some media circles to connect his passing to potential changes in the behaviour of the current team is probably a little unfair. Those who took offence seemed to feel that an apportioning of blame for the current murmurings, stemming from the recent Test series with India, was suggesting that the Australians failed to honour Hughes’ life and keep his memory in, as Michael said in his touching words, “the way they would play cricket”.
This is somewhat offensive and simplistic as, firstly, Hughes’ death and sledging are in no way related and any attempt to connect them is disrespectful to both parties. Secondly, it is absurd to see the issue being of the Australians’ making and theirs alone. A new unified code of conduct and a bipartisan approach across the cricket globe would be a better place to start.
I am sure Warner has reflected somewhat on these issues over the course of the summer. The simplistic notion that the tragic loss of his friend should directly alter his behaviour is ludicrous. Warner has had the proverbial spanking with a feather duster on numerous occasions since his rise to the Test team.
It is time, not because of the loss of a friend, or disciplinary action taken by the governing body, to act in a manner befitting a man, father, on-field combatant and human being.
Perhaps the best yardstick to measure one’s reputation and stature in the game is to seek the opinion of those with whom one is most often in confrontation. I am sure the Indians have given and taken their fair share over the last six weeks yet I can’t help but wonder what they would say about the pocket rocket.
Honourable man who they enjoy competing against? Perhaps not.