Toronto: David Warner has refuted rumours of a rift with former captain Steve Smith in the wake of the Newlands ball-tampering scandal, saying the banned Australian duo remain “good mates”. Warner opened up about his relationship with Smith after making a return to professional cricket in Canada’s Global Twenty20 league.
“Steve and I are good mates. If people hang in the hotel, they’ll see us hanging out with each other and stuff. At the end of the day, it was a big thing that happened and for us, you’ve got to handle it in your individual way and then how you handle it collectively,” Warner said here.
A day after Smith made 61 on his return to cricket in the same tournament, Warner was bowled by Lasith Malinga’s second ball in a far briefer stint at the batting crease. It was Warner’s first match since he was banned alongside Smith and Cameron Bancroft by Cricket Australia in March for conspiring to scuff up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa.
Warner, a former vice-captain of the national team, added, “We haven’t really been able to catch up because he’s (Smith) been away, Cameron’s (been in Perth and I’ve been doing what I’m doing and got family at home. So it’s been hard, but this has been good, we’ve had numerous chats and I’m sure we’ll hang out plenty more, we’re in the same hotel.”
CA’s ban does not extend to domestic tournaments outside Australia, which allowed Smith and Warner to play in Canada.
Life, post the ball-tampering controversy and the subsequent ban, has been tough for his whole family, Warner said.
“It definitely has been (tough), not just for me but for my family, obviously the fans out there that support cricket and Australian cricket, so I’m responsible for that, that’s my fault and why I’ve had some tough times,” Warner said.
“But I’m an adult, I’m big, strong, I’ll move forward and keep continuing to move forward and making sure I’m doing the right things at the right times to keep playing the best cricket I can.”
Reports had previously claimed that the Australian dressing room was left divided after Warner stormed out of the team’s WhatsApp group after Cricket Australia’s Integrity Unit concluded he was the architect of the ball-tampering controversy.