The Investec Ashes 2013 July 15, 2013

Warner admits guilt over Arthur sacking

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David Warner's days as a Test opening batsman are done, and perhaps so too those as a serial source of trouble in Australian cricket. Speaking for the first time since the former national coach Mickey Arthur was replaced by Darren Lehmann, Warner admitted his repeated poor behaviour contributed directly to the sacking, and acknowledged that another misstep will mean he is "on the first plane home".

As it is, Warner will not be anywhere near Lord's at the time of the second Test. On Tuesday he will depart for Australia A duty in South Africa, where he will commence his re-education as a middle-order batsman and set his sights on emulating Michael Hussey's energy and adaptability in the position.

For Australia A, Warner will bat at No. 4, marking the first time he has slid down the order since his Test debut against New Zealand in 2011, and preparation for a potential return at No. 6 should he make the requisite number of runs to return later in the Ashes series.

"I've been spoken to about batting six and that's the role I'm looking forward to being part of this team," Warner said in London. "If I get into this team and I bat six, I'll be doing everything I can to fill that Mike Hussey role and come out and have that intent from ball one, because I see that as the acceleration number in the team. His intent that he had over the years he played was magnificent and I feel I can play that role as well.

"You have to sum up the game situation. You could be come in at four or five for nothing or you could be coming in at 400 and it's up to me to try to adapt to that situation, to try to come out and accelerate from there or to try to grind it out like the boys did the other night before stumps."

The frustration Warner felt at falling out of serious contention for the Trent Bridge match due to his suspension from the lead-up games was intense, to the point that he broke down in tears when informing his family he would not be playing in Nottingham.

"As a kid growing up you want to play in the Ashes and after that incident I went back to my room and I was pretty shattered for a week and a half, two weeks. I still feel the guilt of what happened. I feel myself it's led to me being in this situation at the moment. Things would have been different, I would have been able to play those warm-up games and I could have pressed my claims to play in this first Test but that's me. I put my hand up and accepted the consequences and now it's about me putting as many runs on the board these next two games and press forward.

"I rang my mum and dad and told them I wasn't playing. And I kind of broke down on the phone to mum and it's just one of those things you ask your mum and dad what could I have done better in those situations and you don't want to really go into it as much but I've matured a lot since that incident and now it's all about me trying to play cricket again."

Arthur's sacking, arriving so soon after Warner was suspended, provided a reminder of how much his behaviour had affected others. "It was probably another thing that was gutting, that I may have played a part in that," Warner said. "But that's the business we're in and James Sutherland explained the reasons why that happened and that's the thing that we have to do, we're professional athletes, we have to move on from that and now Darren is the coach and we respect him 100%.

"There's a lot of contributing factors to certain things that went on around the team. No-one likes a guy disturbing their preparation and that's what I felt I did, especially with the Champions Trophy. All that stuff came out before that game against New Zealand, I didn't play and then it was about me and not about the team's focus and that was the most disappointing thing I felt came out of that."

Lehmann has described Warner as having a "clean slate" under his leadership, and there are no longer any strict individual boundaries set out for him. Instead senior players, including the pivotal figure of the wicketkeeper and vice-captain Brad Haddin, are entrusted with the task of watching over Warner, by day and by night.

"Darren's just said to go out there and score runs and be myself," Warner said. "Just get that X-factor back that I can have for this team so hopefully I can score some runs. Definitely still enjoy myself off the field. There's no bans, there's no curfews, no nothing. The mistakes, I've learned, I've become more mature, off the field as well. I know if I stuff up again I'm on the first plane home. No-one needs to tell you that because you already know it."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • ANTHONY_FRANCIS on July 16, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    Australia and all the So Called Selectors, who have chosen and decided not to play David Warner in the ongoing Ashes Test Series, are making a Big Big Mistake. Australia's Batting already looks brittle, they may say they played tough, but the fact is England's Batsmen played better. Surely, David Warner's action might not have been acceptable, but you got to discipline Him and not throw Him out. I would say Warner is anytime better than C. Rogers or E. Cowan. Warner needs to play the Ashes, in England as well latter in Australia.

  • chitti_cricket on July 16, 2013, 18:09 GMT

    He is one damn good player to be missed by Australia.His batting power at the top of the order along with Watson means ausies have better intimidating batting than poms. But one mistake of his cost both him and Australia dearly. Wish him all the good luck and a place in Ausie test team. Good luck mate.

  • BRUTALANALYST on July 16, 2013, 16:10 GMT

    tThe Ausies and the ASHES need Warner he will add much to the series and added drama. If I was Aus I'd have Hughes at 3 for Cowan and Warner at 6.

  • DustBowl on July 16, 2013, 14:18 GMT

    Surely Warner has no place in the UK Ashes? He's 26 not 16. Imagine the reaction of the crowd, supporting Root! Imagine an Aussie crowd's reaction if the situation was reversed with say Agar!!

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    CA have been far to tough on Warner The difference between an Australia which lost at Trent Bridge and an Australia which could have won is Warner His despatch to Zimbabwe at a point when Lehmann says he is on a clean slate is mystifying, especially when Australia has the weakest batting lineup in the last three decades or more in an Ashes series

  • H_Z_O on July 16, 2013, 13:00 GMT

    @Jono Makim Actually Clarke batted at 4 in the last Ashes series in 2010 and Huss moved down to 5. Worked well for Hussey (570 runs at 63.33 with 2 hundreds) but not for Clarke (193 runs at 21.44, his top score of 80 at Adelaide was his only 50+ score, out for single figures 4 times and passed 20 only twice in the series). After 32 innings at 4 he averages 21.51 with 4 50s and no hundreds. At 5 he averages 63.95 with 20 hundreds and 19 50s (conversion rate of 105%).

    Just not convinced he's a 4. I understand what you mean about the younger guys but Hughes and Warner both made their names as openers. Hughes has scored 3 centuries as an opener, all of them in away Tests (South Africa and Sri Lanka). He has scores of 69 (in Mohali), 86 (Hobart) and 87 (Sydney) at 3. And like you, I like the look of Smith at 5 or 6.

    Funny Warner talks of emulating Hussey, because I reckon he could make a good counter-punching 3, a la Ponting. Hughes looks a better bet to emulate Hussey at number 4.

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    rogers watto clarke hughes khwaja warner haddin faulkner/pattinson agar siddle starc

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 10:13 GMT

    Not sure how Warner would go against Anderson. He doesn't move his feet much and that would be problematic facing someone that swings it both ways with both the new and the old ball.

  • Moppa on July 16, 2013, 10:08 GMT

    @Vishal Kaira, the last solid no.6 who played for Australia was, er, Mike Hussey. As for Marcus North, he hardly ever scored anything between 10 and 100, boom or bust. Ironically, the opposite problem of most of our current players. Anyway, back to the article at hand, Warner sounds like will be a better person and player after his tough month, which is good. I'm just concerned that, if he's looking to provide "X-factor", he's going to be as good as Glen Maxwell... in which case he should just fly straight home and start getting used to grade cricket. @H_Z_O, agree that Clarke should go to 5 where he has been best, and therefore 4. Hughes, 5. Clarke, 6. Smith, with Warner potentially coming in at 4 or 6 when he returns.

  • dummy4fb on July 16, 2013, 10:04 GMT

    @H_Z_O, 5 or 6 isn't the point I was trying to make really I guess and yes you are correct! Just that I don't want to see Smith left out just to bring Warner into a middle order role. Smith looks the goods there and I really think that Warner, considering how inexperienced he was at high level cricket when coming in, having only played a handful of FC matches, has done a very good job at the top and should stay there.

    Whether Clarke bats at 4 or 5 I think is irrelevant. He hasn't played enough yet at 4 for us to be sure he can't do it, just one test! Give the guy a chance to crack it, its not like he never came in early at no.5.

    I just think the young inexperienced guys need to get the chance to come into the team at no.5 & 6 and get a feel for things. If our best batsman can't make a fist of it at 4 then why are we asking guys who have been in and out of the team to suddenly come in and make it their own?

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