MELBOURNE, (Reuters) – David Warner is lucky to be available for Ashes selection and the batsman’s attack on England’s Joe Root was “despicable”, according to Australian cricket board chief James Sutherland.
Sutherland also said Warner’s team mates should be held to account for being out drinking with the opener at the Birmingham pub in the early hours of Sunday morning.
“David Warner has done a despicable thing but I also hold the team into account here,” Cricket Australia chief Sutherland told reporters in Brisbane yesterday.
“There were other people there with him and those who were there need to take account of that and so does the team as a whole as well.
“There’s not a lot that is good that happens at 2.30 in the morning at a pub or a nightclub.”
Warner issued an apology on Thursday after being suspended until the first Ashes test on July 10 and fined A$11,500 ($11,000) for his part in the incident, which occurred early on Sunday after Australia’s Champions Trophy defeat by England.
British media reported that the “unprovoked physical attack”, in the words of the England and Wales Cricket Board, was triggered by Root wearing a fancy dress wig in Australia’s green-and-gold colours as a beard.
Warner is alleged to have tried to grab the beard and then swung a punch before other players intervened.
Cricket Australia said Warner would miss the rest of the ongoing Champions Trophy and Australia’s two tour matches against Somerset and Worcestershire before the Ashes after pleading guilty to breaching their rule on ‘unbecoming behaviour’.
The left-hander, once touted as a possible test vice captain to replace Shane Watson after the burly all rounder stepped down from the post earlier this year, was also fined A$5,750 last month for a Twitter outburst against two prominent Australian cricket journalists.
“I think he’s very lucky,” Sutherland said of Warner’s availability for the Ashes. “It could have been a lot worse, couldn’t it?
“What counts is his actions going forward in the future and we’re watching those very closely. “He’s under no illusions to which direction his career is heading at this moment.
“He’s making some pretty ordinary decisions and getting himself into trouble and bringing the game, his teammates and the team down and that’s not going to be tolerated much longer.”
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