David Warner, one of the world’s best Test openers, retires this week, but his 2018 ball-tampering scandal will eternally overshadow him. The controversial 37-year-old Australian will play his final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground against Pakistan after a career that began in 2011 against New Zealand at Brisbane.
Warner was deprived of vice-captaincy and barred from leading the team, ending his dream of captaining Australia’s ODI team. For many in the game, Warner’s assertiveness was expected. He was suspended and fined for hitting England’s Joe Root in a Birmingham pub before the Ashes in June 2013.
David Warner ends 12-year Test career following Pakistan series
He and skipper Steve Smith were banned for a year by Cricket Australia for their roles in the third Test catastrophe in Cape Town. It saw Cameron Bancroft use sandpaper to scuff the ball and then try to hide it down his trousers.
“I’m deeply sorry. “I disappointed my teammates, Cricket Australia, fans, and family,” stated Warner.
He was similarly apologetic two months ago after a heated Twitter exchange with two Australian journalists. His fighting spirit never wavered. In the first Test in Durban before the ball-tampering scandal, Warner and Quinton de Kock argued. Warner saying de Kock had made “vile and disgusting” remarks about Candice.
Warner was fined 75% and De Kock 25% of his match fee. Despite the controversy, he returned to Australia after his ban and played his first Test in the 2019 Ashes series against England. English fans criticised his 95 runs in 10 innings at 9.5, a pitiful return.
Selectors believed in him again. So, he returned later that year with an unbeaten 335 against Pakistan in Adelaide. It has been there ever since. Former Australia captain Greg Chappell claimed Warner would “never live down the sandpaper-gate incident”. But urged people to look past it to his decade-long contribution.
“Whatever one thinks of him, David Warner has been fantastic for Australian cricket,” he wrote in the Sydney Morning Herald this weekend.
“I know how hard it is to do what he has done through 111 Tests. So I hope that David´s harshest critics acknowledge his talent and contribution and forgive his human frailties.”