Australia batsman David Warner issued an apology on Thursday for getting involved in a late night bar-room fracas with young England player Joe Root. Its true I struck Joe in the face and Im here to put my hand up and apologise publicly to Joe and to own up to my actions, Warner told a news conference. Im extremely remorseful. Ive let down my team mates,the Cricket Australia fans,our support staff,myself,my family and Im extremely apologetic, he added,without explaining how the incident started.
Earlier on Thursday,the batsman was suspended until the first Ashes test on July 10 and fined 11,500 Australian dollars ($10,900) for his part in the incident which occurred in the early hours of Sunday in Birmingham after Australias Champions Trophy defeat by England.
I wont deny that I had a couple of drinks but it is no excuse for what I did, Warner said at the news conference in London,where team captain Michael Clarke sat beside him. It was totally out of line,Ive sent a text message to Joe,hes accepted my apology and Im eternally grateful for that. I dont have a drinking problem…but looking back I should not have been in that situation. Its up to me now to be accountable for my actions and to make sure I dont get involved in something like this ever again.
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 Australias 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. Ive accepted the punishment thats been handed down, Warner said. Obviously Im not going to be playing any cricket for a while. Now its up to me to do everything I can to help the team progress in the Champions Trophy and have a great preparation leading into the Ashes.
Clarke said left-hander Warner,who was also fined A$5,750 last month for a Twitter outburst against two journalists,had let down the team. His behaviour is unacceptable for an Australian cricketer, Clarke told the news conference. Although we have quite a young group,I think weve come a long way as a group in the last couple of years. Our behaviour generally has been outstanding. David knows how disappointed the team and I are with his behaviour. Although the punishment for David is quite harsh…when you represent Australia there are standards you have to uphold and David hasnt upheld those standards.
Cricket Australia said in a statement after Thursdays hearing that Warner would miss the rest of the Champions Trophy and Australias two tour matches against Somerset and Worcestershire before the Ashes after pleading guilty to breaching their rule on unbecoming behaviour.
The rule states that players and officials must not at any time engage in behaviour unbecoming to a representative player or official that could (a) bring them or the game of cricket into disrepute or (b) be harmful to the interests of cricket..