Cricket in disrepute, but don’t send Warner home

Andy Lloyd
AUSTRALIA must be low on confidence after a nightmarish start to 2013, and sometimes that can manifest itself in extraordinary actions such as those David Warner is accused of.

Warner has previous, having been fined earlier this year for a Twitter outburst, and appears to be a volatile character. Now he seems to have found a reason to think Joe Root an annoying Englishman.

I find it hard to comprehend that he would behave like that, and also that others in his party would fail to stop him. If indeed he is guilty, Warner urgently needs to grow up.

Throwing a punch at another player in a pub would not only reflect badly on him and his team, it would bring the entire game into disrepute. Cricketers simply don’t do that.

Warner looks likely to avoid being sent home and missing the Ashes, and he would certainly be a big loss for the tourists. He is very talented, quick and a fine attacking batsman.

Some may suggest that Australia might be more inclined to be ruthless and banish him if they had a greater pool of talent and weren’t in such desperate form, but I don’t agree.

I’ve always found the Aussies to be pretty principled people. They play hard, but by the rules, and nobody loves cricket more than they do.

I also agree that, even if found guilty, Warner should not be put on the first plane. If I were part of the Australia management, I’d be looking at him fiercely and would let him know in no uncertain terms that any further transgressions would mean not just the end of a tour, but the end of his international career. That ought to be sufficient. It’s yet another reason for England to feel buoyant just weeks away from a home Ashes series they were already expected to win comfortably.

While the hosts have also been boosted by the imminent return of a world-class batsman in Kevin Pietersen, Australia look like they need a huge change in fortune to even give England a game.

Alastair Cook’s men struck the first blow of the summer on Saturday when they won their Champions Trophy opener by 48 runs.

I’ve played at Edgbaston numerous times and if you bat first you’re in a great position to win as the pitch tends to be slow. So when England put 250 on the board I fancied them.

They now face two more tricky fixtures, including today against Sri Lanka, who disappointed in their first match, against New Zealand. Cook’s side are in control of their own destiny, however, and I think they’ll progress to the semi-finals.

Finally, a word about Jos Buttler’s thrilling 47 off 26 in last week’s final one-day match against New Zealand. His wicketkeeping has been called into question but when he performs like that he simply has to play.

Andy Lloyd is a former England Tests cricketer who has also been captain and chairman of Warwickshire.