In his new book On Fire, Ben Stokes wrote that the unbeaten hundred with which he carried England to a one-wicket win over Australia in the Ashes was inspired by David Warner’s sledging from the slip cordon. Australia skipper Tim Paine has responded, saying that there is ‘a common trend in England that they like to use Davey’s name to spike book sales.’
Stokes claimed that Warner distracted him during his unbeaten 135 in the third Test, saying that, “Warner seemed to have his heart set on disrupting me.”
“He just wouldn’t shut up for most of my time out there. I could accept it from just about any other opponent. Truly. Not from him, though. The changed man he was adamant he’d become, the one that hardly said boo to a goose and even went as far as claiming he had been re-nicknamed ‘Humble’ by his Australia team-mates, had disappeared,” an extract from the book said.
“Although he’d enjoyed a prolific World Cup campaign, he had struggled with the bat at the start of the Ashes and was perhaps turning to his old ways to try to get the best out of himself. The nice-guy act had done nothing for his runs column. I muttered ‘Bloody Warner’ a few times as I was getting changed. The more time passed, the more it spurred me on. All kinds of ideas of what I might say to him at the end of the game went through my head. In the end, I vowed to do nothing other than shake his hand and say ‘Well done’ if I could manufacture the situation,” the excerpt said.
On being asked if it was a ‘cheap shot’, Australian captain Paine said, “Oh absolutely. I was obviously standing next to David the whole time (at first slip) and you are allowed to talk on the cricket field.” But by no means was he abusing him or sledging him. It just seems to be a common trend in England that they like to use Davey’s name to spike book sales. So good luck to them.”
“I was standing right next to him, I had absolutely no issue,” Paine said. “The way David handled himself during the Ashes was excellent. Particularly given the fact he wasn’t scoring a hell of a lot of runs and I’m pretty sure he was on the end of a fair bit himself on and off the field in England. So I thought he did a great job of handling that and held himself really well throughout the series.
“They write books to sell and they have to get headlines to get sales,” Paine said, ahead of the Test series against Pakistan.