Warner suspended until first Ashes Test
David Warner's bar-room altercation with Joe Root could yet cost him his Test place after he was suspended for the rest of the Champions Trophy and Australia's two Ashes warm-up games. Although Warner will be available for the first Test at Trent Bridge, his lack of match practice would make it difficult for the selectors to choose him, which raises the possibility of either Shane Watson or Chris Rogers returning to the opening role.
Warner faced a Cricket Australia Code of Behaviour hearing by teleconference on Thursday evening Australian time and while he avoided being sent home from the tour, he was fined A$11,500 on top of the suspension. For the second time in less than a month - the first followed his Twitter spat with two journalists - Warner pleaded guilty to breaching rule six of the Code of Behaviour, which deals with "unbecoming behaviour".
Although Cricket Australia did not release further details of the hearing or Warner's response to the charge, the chief executive James Sutherland is due to face the media on Friday morning. Warner was alleged to have thrown a punch at Root while members of the England and Australia teams were at the Walkabout pub in Birmingham following their game on Saturday, in what the ECB described in a statement as "an unprovoked attack".
There were reports that Warner believed Root was impersonating Hashim Amla when wearing a false beard, but the England camp has said Root was making fun of himself and referring to taunts from his team-mates that he was too young to grow facial hair. Warner was stood down from Australia's Champions Trophy match against New Zealand on Wednesday and after the game, stand-in captain George Bailey said the altercation was "very minor" and had "been dealt with in-house".
The suspension caps off a disappointing six months for Warner, who in January was reprimanded under the ICC Code of Conduct for showing dissent at an umpire's decision during an ODI against Sri Lanka, and then frustrated team management on the Test tour of India with his poor fitness and skin-fold results. Runs have not been flowing either - since the start of 2013 Warner has averaged 28 in Tests 20.75 in one-day internationals, and he started the England tour with 0, 0 and 9.
The combination of factors makes it hard to see how Warner could retain his Test place for the start of the Ashes, unless the rest of the top order misfires in the warm-ups against Somerset and Worcestershire. Rogers, who is the leading run scorer in county cricket this season with 777 at 77.70, was already a strong contender to return to the opening spot he occupied in his only Test, against India in 2008, while Watson could also fill the role.
Watson has failed to have any significant impact with the bat in Test cricket since moving down the order from the opening position and his record at the top is much more impressive. Rogers, Watson and the other incumbent opener Ed Cowan will all be keen to impress in the warm-up matches in Warner's absence.
There are no further tour matches until the Australians take on Sussex in the lead-up to the third Test, which could be Warner's first chance to score runs in a match situation if he is overlooked for the first two Tests.
Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here