Champions Trophy 2013 June 13, 2013

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

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  • Philip on June 14, 2013, 22:41 GMT

    Well said @Biggus. This is not just about the Australian cricket team. It is about Australian cricket. In Adam Gilchrist, grassroots coaches and parents had a role model that could be held up for kids at all times. He walked (when he was out - instead of standing there like some today hoping the technology will fail to show the nick). He talked (as if he meant the things he said). He played hard (but fair). Junior cricket participation in this country is falling and parents cannot be expected to bother with grass-roots cricket if the national team is letting them down with the standards that they should be setting for the impressionable kids that idolise them. So children playing the game are at the heart of this. They are the only ones who can be excused for acting like kids.

  • Richard on June 14, 2013, 8:11 GMT

    @Thabo Moyo:-And yet it was Warner who did this, not anyone else, and he has shown a propensity for poor judgement before. If we Australians are the most critical of his actions it's because we have a right to be. He represents us, and despite what some would have you believe we are not all a bunch of redneck thugs. It's inappropriate to dismiss this as a 'boys will be boys' thing, for although this incident has been dismissed by some as insignificant it could have ended far more seriously. As parents are prone to say of children playing, "It's all good fun until someone gets hurt." He's not one of our most prized posessions, he's a deeply flawed article, both on and off the field, and his actions compromise the team on the eve of what is to us the most important event in our cricketing calendar, at the very time when we must make the most of what we have. We can't afford to go into the Ashes as anything other than a totally committed, tightly focussed unit or we'll only fail dismally.

  • Rafiq on June 14, 2013, 7:55 GMT

    Send him home. If he can't play in the warm ups he shouldn't play in the first test - not on present form. If he can't play in the first test then you'd be daft to pick him for the second. So at best his next match would be the tour game after that, and if he fails there then we've got a passenger in the squad for the entire tour. So drop him. Make a proper example for the rest, and pick the best guy from the A-Tour as his replacement in the squad. That gives an incentive to the a-squad and means we have a back up batsman for the Ashes who will have actually played some cricket.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 7:46 GMT

    It is amazing how quick it is for people to wash their hands off one of Australia's prize possessions, cricket-wise, in my view. The problems with Warner go deeper and point to a serious decay in Australian society. Look at the reports of a toxic environment in the Olympic swim team, the problems bedeviling rugby union's Quade Cooper, Kurtley Beale and the issues with the younger squad members in the Aussie Cricket set-up. There is a massive leadership vacuum in that cricket tour party and it will not be fixed during this England tour, bu there are lessons to be drawn if performance on the field and marketability off the field are to be improved.

  • Naresh on June 14, 2013, 7:28 GMT

    One of the best fielders currently on display. Oz need this guy except that he should bat down the order.

  • martin on June 14, 2013, 5:15 GMT

    first test: rogers (how can you not pick him), cowan (might play better with a more stable partner), hughes(??), watson (last chance), clarke (fingers crossed), khawajia (give him time and put him in 3 once settled), haddin (for now), faulkener(back up to watson one feels), pattinson, siddle, bird (terry alderman), harris/lyon(if fawad is eligible he would be a better spin option as he actually spins the ball). Drinks carrier (during and after the game): D.Warner.

  • Philip on June 14, 2013, 0:33 GMT

    Warner, as a batsman, has always struck me as hit-and-miss. His lack of preparation for the first Test may not be a problem. By all accounts, social media, parties and bars are the modern Aussie practice anyway. That is why England will win easily and why consecutive Ashes drubbings will be the best thing that could happen to Australian cricket. It is only then that we may see necessary changes to the way things are done. 10-nil? Bring it on.

  • Brenton on June 13, 2013, 17:47 GMT

    We already have other openers, we don't have a number 6 who can take charge and score centuries. Warner is actually perfectly suited to this role, like Douggy Walters. This suspension may be a blessing in disguise. 1 Watson, 2 Hughes, 3 Rogers, 4 Clarke, 5 Khawaja, 6 Warner and 7 Haddin.

  • Darren on June 13, 2013, 16:19 GMT

    I can see the logic in what I intially thought a very strange decision by CA. Warner is effectively banned from the first 2 tests but Australia have given themselves the option of recalling Warner (with a point to prove) for the final 2/3 tests without making themselves look silly i.e sending for Warner from Australia. I also think it is a harder punishment for Warner to stay in england with the aussie team, living with the consequences of his stupid actions, than to go back to Australia and have his mates tell him he was hard done by. The aussies must be very worried about their batting to take this decision.

  • Dummy4 on June 13, 2013, 15:41 GMT

    Silly ban, so if Rodgers doesn't get any runs in those warm up games. Warner will be back with no practise, setting him up to fail.

    With an Average of 39 he is comfortably the most consistent of Australia "new generation"

    Let Philip Hugest open

    I can hear the barmy army now

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