Champions Trophy 2013 June 14, 2013

Warner's actions 'despicable' - Sutherland


Cricket Australia's chief executive, James Sutherland, has described David Warner's attack on Joe Root as "a despicable thing" and said Warner was extremely fortunate to still be available for Ashes selection. Sutherland also slammed the wider playing group and team management for the events that unfolded at the weekend, questioning why Warner and a group of Australian players were out drinking in the early hours of Sunday morning.

The usually mild-mannered Sutherland was clearly livid during a press conference on Friday in Brisbane, where he said Warner's public apology in London on Thursday meant little. Sutherland said there could have been no justification for Warner's physical attack on an opposition player and that Warner was bringing "the game, his team and his team-mates down".

"David Warner has done a despicable thing," Sutherland said. "But I also hold the team to account here. There were other people there with him and those that were there need to take responsibility for that, but so does the team as a whole and the team management group as a whole.

"There is no place for violence anywhere and I'm extremely disappointed in that. I'm extremely disappointed in him and I have told him that ... There were certain things that led to this situation that happened, as I understand it, at 2.30 in the morning. There's not a lot of good that happens at 2.30 in the morning in a pub or a nightclub. I believe that the team as a whole and the people who were around him at the time also need to take responsibility for what happened."

As well as Warner and a group of England players, a number of other Australians including Mitchell Marsh, Matthew Wade, Glenn Maxwell, Phillip Hughes and Clint McKay were reported to have been at the Walkabout pub in Birmingham when Warner's punch at Root occurred. Australia's stand-in captain George Bailey said on Wednesday it had been "a minor incident" that had been dealt with in-house.

But Cricket Australia and its Code of Behaviour commissioner Gordon Lewis, a retired County Court judge, took the altercation seriously and at a hearing on Thursday Lewis imposed an A$11,500 fine on Warner and suspended him until the first Ashes Test. Lewis made his decision independently and while Sutherland said Cricket Australia was comfortable with the punishment, he said Warner could count himself fortunate to be available for Ashes selection.

"I think he's very lucky," Sutherland said. "It could have been a lot worse, couldn't it? It should never have got to that and as it stands, yes, he is lucky to be available for selection ... Cricket people know it's going to be very, very hard for David Warner to get selected for the first Test match. He can't play cricket until the first Test match starts.

"I note that overnight he has made comments apologising for what he has done and expressing remorse for his actions. That's all well and good. It counts for a little bit, but not much. What really counts is his actions going forward in the future, and we're watching those very closely."

Warner's public apology came less than a month after he faced the media in Sydney to express his regret at a foul-mouthed Twitter rant at two Australian journalists, which earned him a A$5750 fine. The incident in Birmingham was clearly far more serious and while Sutherland stopped short of declaring that Warner was on a final warning, he said the batsman had been put under no illusions as to the direction his career was heading if he did not change his behaviour.

"There is no excuse for what happened on Saturday night," he said. "I don't care what explanations people might want to put up, there is no place for violence in society and there is no place for Australian cricketers to be finding themselves in that position."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • mark on June 16, 2013, 2:05 GMT

    Well sorry to log in against the current orthodoxy, but the problems the Australian team faces lay not in a few drinks, poorly worded texts, or a bar scuffle but in the malaise of modern sports rhetoric, uninspired and uninspiring coaching and management, poor selection/selectors and the most important:genetics. Clearly there is a deficiency in class in Australian cricket at the moment, particularly in batting and spin bowling. The brutal reality is that some generations throw up greats others do not. Australian cricket is in a talent drought.All the reports, vision statements in the world cannot create class, cannot re-create god given brilliance.Our batting is currently in a phase made up of journeymen and moderate first class/not test class batsmen eg Rogers, Cowan, Bailley, Til freak/ world class talent like Mark Waugh, D Lehmann, Gilchrist emerge..we will remain ordinary.Axing Inverarity, Howard, Sutherland and Arthur will help too.More on that another time.

  • Ahmed on June 15, 2013, 23:46 GMT

    Watson is right.....If players faced severe penalties for not doing homework, how could it be right to cover up a more serious offence from Warner? Sadly, it boils down to lack of effective and consistent management. I find it increasingly difficult to feel passionate about our performances.

  • Chris on June 15, 2013, 12:51 GMT

    I would have thought "despicable" would have been inexcusable and therefore punishable much more severely.

  • David on June 15, 2013, 9:51 GMT

    cricket-vid - So, because he pays your wages you represent your employer even down the pub after work? I'm glad I don't work for your boss! Presumably you would be happy for your boss to describe you/your behaviour publicly as despicable? CA have shot themselves in the foot over something that could've stayed private and a matter for internal discipline. Maybe it's different down under, but everywhere else, fires aren't contained by using more gasoline.

  • Dummy4 on June 15, 2013, 7:47 GMT

    CA should sack themselves for sending the game into disrepute.

    Reports state that three other Australian players at the bar were Phil Hughes, Glenn Maxwell and Matthew Wade .... these were the three principle beneficiaries of the "Homework Affair" ..... two of whom I do not think should have been on the Indian Tour ..... all of whom are CLARKE-MEN!!!

    No we are hearing that if it wasn't for Watson raising a complaint pertaining to the punishment issued to Watson as compared to the Homework Affair.

    Quite apparent that there is no discipline or leadership in the Australian Team .... and it all stems from the BS Management.

  • Forbes on June 15, 2013, 4:38 GMT

    samgannon22, if you want someone to bite, I will. Not that you deserve a response.

    I am not being over-protective of the sport. Whatever happens with the game will be just "the way it goes". All the same, your statement is nonsense. Do you have anything to back it up, or are you just being spiteful due to some personality shortcoming?

    I will agree that cricket - at least in Australia - is probably not what it was due to having to share more and more with other sports, there are plenty of people who still "care", and this 150+year-old game will be around for a lot longer than 10 years.

    Enjoy whatever pastime you indulge in Sam, and find some like-minded souls in another forum.

  • rienzie on June 15, 2013, 1:35 GMT

    But unlike Watson, Ussy, Pattinson he is part of the purple circle, that is why the light tap on the wrist... Michael Clarke, you are the emperor of a crumbling empire of the past

  • Rajaram on June 15, 2013, 1:12 GMT

    David Warner deserves the punishment. Future candidate for captaincy?Sic.Thiis suspension is good news for the Selectors and Team Australia to win The Ashes.The dependable Chris Rogers who has good opener technique for Test cricket, unlike Warner will get his rightful place along with Ed Cowan, another batsman with good Test match opener technique.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 23:37 GMT

    Well said Mr Sutherland, I am happy that there are administrators like you in Australia, We the cricket fans in South Asia were getting thoroughly disappointed with the behavior of the Aussie players, they seem to think that every game is an all out war and that winning means everything. I am not surprised about this incident, I expected something worse looking at the the way your players behave on the field. Well done, now get things done even on the playing field. All the best ,your actions have brought some respect for Australia.

  • Dummy4 on June 14, 2013, 23:05 GMT

    David Warner in 'DESPICABLE ME 3" coming July 2014.

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