BIRMINGHAM: A ruthful David Warner apologised publicly for the bar-room brawl that led to his suspension from the Champions Trophy even as Australian skipper Michael Clarke told the opener to remember that it was not an IPL, state or county team that he was playing for.
Warner offered unconditional apologies for his affray with England player Joe Root in a bar after Australia’s opening game loss to the hosts in the ongoing Champions Trophy.
“I’m here today to apologise publicly and put my hand up and say I am responsible for my actions. I am extremely remorseful. I have let my team-mates down, the support staff, myself and my family,” Warner told reporters in a jam-packed press conference.
“I have accepted the punishment. It is up to me to do everything I can to help the team to progress in the Champions Trophy, and move on to have a great preparation for the Ashes.”
Clarke, who accompanied Warner to the press conference, urged him to watch his conduct.
“Although the punishment for David is quite harsh, that’s the reality when you play for the Australian cricket team,” Clarke said.
“This is not an IPL team, this is not state cricket, it’s not county cricket, when you play for Australia there are standards you have to uphold,” he added in a stern warning.
Warner said he clearly remembers what transpired that night but refused to go into the details.
“I definitely remember the night. It started out with a few drinks in the bar and as a team we went to the Walkabout. I made a mistake and I put my hand up,” he said.
“I have exchanged text messages with Joe. He accepted my apology, which I am thoroughly grateful for.”
Warner, fined some weeks back for his twitter rant against a couple of Australian journalists who criticised the IPL, rejected suggestions that he was facing a drinking problem.
“I don’t think I have a drink problem at all. I’ve got to make the right decisions at the right time. That night wasn’t a good time to go out and have a beer. We’d lost the game, and even though we’d had a day off we’d still lost. We don’t have curfews, but looking back I shouldn’t have been in that situation,” Warner said.
Clarke said Warner’s behaviour was unacceptable. “It’s probably not the right time for me to sit here and be bragging about David’s leadership qualities,” Clarke said.
“I’ve said in the past that he does have a lot of leadership qualities, but right now as captain of this Australian team, he knows very clearly how I feel. His behaviour is unacceptable as an Australian cricketer.”
The Australian captain, who has been so far laid low by injury, however, praised Warner for owning up to his mistake.
“I respect the fact David has put his hand up and wants to move forward, has apologised to Joe, and acknowledged he has made a big mistake. He does deserve credit for putting his hand up.”
“I’ve said for a long time it’s not what you say, it’s what you do, and this is an opportunity for Warner to show the world what he does rather than what he says. We’ll be 100 per cent ready for the Ashes. There’s no doubt about it.”
Warner said he was grateful to Cricket Australia for not throwing him out of the Ashes.
“I’m grateful to still be on this tour,” he said. “I’ve got no cricket in the next month so I will have to go back into the nets and prepare as well as I can, and help my team-mates that I’ve let down as much as I can.
“It’s disappointing to have two incidents in a matter of months. It’s come three, four weeks after that incident out in India as well, so I have to keep moving on from this,” he added.
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