AUSTRALIA batsman David Warner has defended his role in the on-field spat with Rohit Sharma in which he told the India centurion to “speak English” as tempers flared during Sunday’s one-day international in Melbourne.
Warner was fined 50 per cent of his match fee after admitting a charge which contravened the sport’s code of conduct, the latest flashpoint between two sides that recently played out a bad-tempered Test series.
The incident was triggered by India taking a single off an overthrow. Warner believed the ball had deflected off Sharma and therefore India were guilty of breaching cricketing convention, although replays showed the run was legitimate.
“When I went over to say something to him, he sort of said something in their language and I said ‘speak English’ because if you’re going to say something, understand that theoretically I cannot speak Hindi,” said Warner.
“I did the polite thing and asked him to speak English, therefore he did and I can’t repeat what he said. I was wrong, I shouldn’t have engaged him. But if people get on the wrong side of me, I’m not going to back down.”
Warner is no stranger to controversy and infamously received a suspension for punching England batsman Joe Root following a row over a fake beard in a Birmingham nightspot ahead of the 2013 Ashes series.
The big-hitting 28-year-old’s latest indiscretion has prompted former New Zealand skipper Martin Crowe to claim Warner’s aggressive behaviour could lead to incidents with graver repercussions.
“There is growing concern that David Warner’s thuggish behaviour has gone too far,” said Crowe. “Soon enough someone will get king-hit on a cricket field. If it is him, it will be overdue, if wrong.”