David Warner's wife Candice Warner has spoken of the pain she went through during Australia's tour of South Africa, where she was the subject of a sledge and abuse from spectators, and hinted that episode may have contributed to Warner's mindset going into the Cape Town Test, during which he was caught in the ball-tampering scandal.
Warner's controversial tour began with a stairwell argument involving South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban - de Kock retaliated to sledging from Warner with a remark about Candice - and ended when he was sent home following the third Test at Newlands, after he was banned by Cricket Australia from playing international and domestic cricket for 12 months for his role in the plan to tamper with the ball.
"He's just such an emotional wreck," Candice told The Daily Telegraph after Warner held an emotional press conference in Sydney where he apologised for his role in the incident. "I feel like it's all my fault and it's killing me, it's absolutely killing me. I haven't been much of a support because I've been a wreck."
After reports emerged about the cause of the stairwell argument, Candice was subjected to further abuse from spectators in South Africa. People wore masks of Sonny Bill Williams - a New Zealand rugby player Candice had been involved with in 2007 - and sang songs to taunt Warner. All of this, Candice said, contributed to Warner having to deal with trauma after he came off the field during the series.
"To have people staring and pointing and laughing at me, to have the signs, to have the songs made up about me, I would have to sit there and cop that," Candice said. "Dave would come home from the game and see me in tears in the bedroom, and the girls just looking at their mum. He had to just cope with it. He was protecting me as much as he could and protecting the girls."
"I'm sure there were things he wanted to say but he just couldn't get it out. He is hurting. He is seriously, seriously struggling and he's not in a great headspace," Candice, who was also at the press conference, said. "He's just such an emotional wreck and I think he was sitting there hearing words but not really being able to process. If people could understand, which they probably won't because there's so many people out there that want answers, but if they could just sympathise just slightly with the month that he's had."
Candice said the emotional impact on their two daughters has been 'really, really hard' to deal with. "I'm really not well, without going into details. It was important that I went to support my husband as I always do. Coming home today I walked into the room and I was in tears and our daughters were so upset. They were like 'why you crying, Mummy?' I had to make an excuse. It's really hard to explain to kids."