LONDON, 13 JUNE: Cricket Australia today fined batsman David Warner $11,500 and also suspended him for the rest of Australia’s Champions Trophy campaign and two tour matches ahead of the Ashes series for a bar brawl with an English cricketer. Warner will be available for selection for the first Ashes Test. The Australian opener today pleaded guilty to breaching Rule 6, related to unbecoming behaviour. CA’s senior code of behaviour commissioner Gordon Lewis imposed the penalties, ruling Warner out the Australian team&’s matches against Somerset and Worcestershire.
Warner was yesterday stood down from Australia’s Champions Trophy match against New Zealand over an alcohol-related problem. He was said to have been involved in a physical confrontation with England’s Joe Root.
Warner’s second disciplinary hearing in three weeks has raised concerns about the culture of the Australian team heading into next month’s Ashes series in England.
The latest spat involving Warner came barely three weeks after he had been fined Aus$5,750 ($5,400) over an expletive-ridden Twitter tirade at two Australian journalists.
"Warner’s altercation with an Ashes opponent comes amid serious concerns about the culture of the team, which spilled into the public realm when four players were stood down for failing to do their homework during the disastrous 4-0 series loss to India," Fairfax Media said, adding: "It doesn’t help that Warner has endured a horrendous few months on the field, and is coming off scores of 0, 0 and 9 in the first three games of the tour."
During the India tour, Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all disciplined after failing to submit feedback requested by team management. Australian newspapers drew parallels between the latest Warner embarrassment and the case of former Test cricketer Andrew Symonds, who was sent home from the World Twenty20 tournament in England in June 2009 following a late-night drinking episode.
The media gave prominence to the views of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who said the incident had "tarnished" Australian cricket.
"Unfortunately David Warner has tarnished the whole Australia cricket team," Vaughan told BBC Sport on Wednesday. "People are talking about him but the whole network, structure, captain, management, supporters, are all tarred with the same brush because of what one individual has done to the team." The opening Ashes Test starts in Nottingham on 10 July and the Sydney Daily Telegraph said that Australia desperately needed Warner to perform, but cast doubt on whether he was up to the job.
"That is simply not going to happen if he continues to hold his country, the game and his team-mates in such low regard," it said, adding: "At his best Warner is the most watchable player in the country. Right now he is a liability."