Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 27, 2014

Warner fined for sharp-practice comments


David Warner, the Australia opener, has been fined for his suggestion that South Africa's burst of reverse swing to win the Port Elizabeth Test was achieved by suspicious means.

Following the conclusion of the Test, Warner told an Australian radio station that he had kept an eye on the conduct of the wicketkeeper AB de Villiers, claiming that he may have used his gloves to scrape the ball.

This accusation was rejected by South African management, while both the bowling coach Craig McDermott and the fast bowler Ryan Harris have spoken adamantly that the hosts did nothing wrong in their care of the ball.

Warner was subsequently cited under the ICC Code of conduct, for a level one breach of article 2.1.7. He has accepted the penalty, a 15% fine of his match fee ($2880). The relevant article reads:

"Public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an International Match or any Player, Player Support Personnel, Match official or team participating in any International Match, irrespective of when such criticism or inappropriate comment is made."

The charge was laid by the presiding ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama, who said Warner's words had been inappropriate and disrespectful.

"It was disrespectful for David to publicly denigrate an opponent when commenting on a match-related incident, and imply that a South African player was engaging in sharp practice. I'm sure David will be careful when making public comments in future."

Harris spoke for the majority of his team-mates in asserting that none of de Villiers, Dale Steyn or any other member of the team did anything untoward in Port Elizabeth.

"I've got no doubt what they did was fine, otherwise the umpires and the match referee would have done something," Harris said. "You're referring to Davey Warner's comments obviously.

"They've obviously looked after the ball a lot better than us, and if there's anything illegal about it I'm sure we would have heard about it by now. They've obviously had experience at that ground and knew what they had to do. AB was obviously doing something with his gloves. But it's not illegal otherwise the umpires would have done something. If he was doing something illegal, he would have been fined. You've got to do something with the ball, everyone does it.

"We didn't do it well enough so we've just got to make sure that if it happens here [Newlands], somehow we've got to get it going. Throwing it into the ground, that happens in every day cricket now as long as you're doing it from the outfield.

"There are things that are not secret because everyone does it, and then it's a matter of how you polish it up and what you do after that.

"But I think if there's any scratching or anything like that done, the umpires are checking the ball every 15 overs or whatever and if they see it, they'll change it and they'll make a report.

"Davey's comments were obviously wrong and thats been dealt with by the ICC. I dont really want to comment on that. They handled the ball better than us."

Harris said Australia had a stint in the nets against a scruffed up ball, to better equip their batsmen. Training against a worn out ball was important, he said. "I am probably also guilty of, in training, using the new ball too much. We need to use the old ball as well to give the batsmen practice."

Steyn, when asked about Warner's comments, said it would have been more appropriate if "people" appreciated the skills of the hosts' bowlers rather than questioning their tactics.

"It's not my business to get involved. When we were beaten at SuperSport Park, we went back to the drawing board and looked at how we could improve our game," Steyn said. "When you lose a game maybe that's what you should be doing.

"It would be a lot better if people talked about how well you executed your skills instead of looking at ways of how you got that skill."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • James on March 6, 2014, 10:10 GMT

    Faf and Petersen said EXACTLY the same thing about Australia's reverse swing in the third test. Why were they not fined? Do you have to be Australian to be immoral in the cricket world?

  • Luke on March 2, 2014, 4:59 GMT

    I agree with Warner the amound of swing the south africans gererated when the ball hadnt swung all game including for them, was a bit suspect !

  • ESPN on March 1, 2014, 12:33 GMT

    Some of those comments seeming a bit silly now, a chance less run a ball century. Come on warner, 200 here

  • Brian on March 1, 2014, 2:30 GMT

    Onya Dave, just saying what we all think.

  • Graham on February 28, 2014, 11:46 GMT

    2 Mike Gattings; Boof said his comment on a comedy radio station in AUstralia whilst the game was being played in England. The only thing he erred on was that someone was going to take his comments seriously. Its strange how the details of the comments are never put into articles. As for those condemning Australians as bad sports 1) Warner alone made the comments 2) I dont think he intended to be a bad sport he is just stupid.

  • ESPN on February 28, 2014, 11:16 GMT

    I think all the Sth African fans here generalising and taking a metaphorical number 2 all over Australians in General because of Warner's comments need to look in a mirror. You are showing an amazing lack of sportsmanship by putting an entire team, and country in some cases, down by your petty cheap shots. Yup, Warner has a big mouth, but he's one member of a very large team. Sth Africa played a great test, pity some of their fans ruin the good will they generate.

  • Paul on February 28, 2014, 9:57 GMT

    Warner (numerous) and his coach Lehmann (Broad, SL) have a history of spouting off to the detriment of the sport and CA. Can't somebody control them? IN CONTRAST MacDermott has explained it all with a calm measured approach -see cricinfo article. Top bloke who hasn't had all the credit he deserved for Oz resurgence?

  • Shruti on February 28, 2014, 7:12 GMT

    Australia's best chance at Newlands is batting first.If Amla and Smith get going it is nothing but funeral for the visitors.SA are better balanced side whereas AUS over rely on MJ .Can Watson make the difference ?Smith and Faf are due runs big time and it would be in Aus interest if these two dont choose Newlands.In the same vein Clarke is also due for runs and so is Brad Haddin.All in all a mouth watering contest in store but hosts are the favourites.

  • Ronald on February 28, 2014, 7:01 GMT

    I'm amazed CA hav'nt stepped in to muzzle Warner. His 'comments' have been a source of embarrassment for Australian cricket all summer.

  • Neil on February 28, 2014, 5:11 GMT

    solely within the last 12 months Warner has been .... 1) Fined after a twitter spat with one his own journalists whilst he was in India. He even temporarily retired his twitter account for that one! 2) Fined and banned for assaulting an opponent player in a Birmingham Australian themed public house. 3) Fined for "suggesting" that the opponents tampered with the ball to beat his team in South Africa. Three trips, 3 times in trouble ( I know he played in the IPL too ... and did his homework ... I'd love to see what he wrote!! ) The question needs to be asked, what is he doing still playing? Can it be because his coach, who has also been fined for a media outburst displays the same moral fibre as he does? They might be winning games & increasing their popularity at home, but elsewhere in the world these antics are making them a laughing stock. Where oh where will it end ?

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