The chief conspirator of ball-tampering scandal, David Warner, has finally opened up about his relationship with suspended Australia captain Steve Smith.
Cricket Australia had imposed a one-year ban on Warner for his involvement in the ball-tampering plot at Newlands in March. Besides Warner, CA had also issued severe punishments on Smith and the rookie opener Cameron Bancroft. While Smith was suspended for 12 months, Bancroft was barred from international cricket for a period of 9-month.
Making his return to cricket at the inaugural Global T20 Canada league in Toronto on Friday (June 29), Warner was bowled by Lasith Malinga for just 1. However, his team Winnipeg Hawks secured a comprehensive 46-run victory over Montreal Tigers at Maple Leaf North-West Ground, King City.
"It definitely has been [tough], not just for me but for my family, obviously the fans out there that support cricket and Australian cricket, so I'm responsible for that, that's my fault and why I've had some tough times. But I'm an adult, I'm big, strong, I'll move forward and keep continuing to move forward and making sure I'm doing the right things at the right times to keep playing the best cricket I can,” Warner was quoted as saying by ESPNCricinfo.
"Steve and me are good mates. If people hang in the hotel, they'll see us hanging out with each other and stuff. At the end of the day, it was a big thing that happened and for us, you've got to handle it in your individual way and then how you handle it collectively. We haven't really been able to catch up because he's been away, Cameron's been in Perth and I've been doing what I'm doing and got family at home. So it's been hard, but this has been good, we've had numerous chats and I'm sure we'll hang out plenty more, we're in the same hotel," he added.
Following the sanction imposed by Cricket Australia, the BCCI had also barred Warner from participating in the ongoing Indian Premier League. It is worth mentioning here that Warner has led SRH to IPL triumph in 2016 besides being the highest run-getter in IPL 2017.
Event thought the highly lucrative IPL contract and loss of sponsors have dented Warner’s financial drawing big time, the 31-year-old reckons it was great for him to stay away from cricket for the time being.
"Being at home for the last 12 weeks has been great for me. There were a lot of mental scars after the Ashes and that probably saw my form [dip] and maybe [for] Steve as well in the one-day series against England. It takes a lot out of you, and moving onto South Africa and what happened, it was really tough. We're responsible for that and we're moving on. But to get back out here and play cricket is really good for us mentally. I was excited about the chance to come here and play, and to do what we love. Can't sit at home and dwell on the past, you've got to move forward, and I felt this was a great opportunity to get out there, play cricket and be happy,” Warner remarked.
"If you were stuck inside this tent for 365 days you'd probably go insane, so in the bubble we've been in for the last six or seven years, you need time out and I think this 12 months is going to be a good reflection upon myself as a person and a character, as a dad and a family man. The last 12 weeks have been tough, but it's enabled me to spend a lot of time with my family, and that's something I'll always cherish every day. To have my daughter on Facetime and say that she misses me and loves me and she wants to come over here and watch cricket, I'm excited that they want to get back into it as well. It's those things we miss.
"I'm extremely grateful for cricket and what it's brought me; the game owes me nothing. To be here, I'm just so grateful for Canadian cricket to have this tournament and it's a reflection of what we do day in and day out. It's tough on the road, all three forms, but a lot of time in this next eight or nine months to ponder and think about what my future holds. I'm just grateful to be back out playing cricket," he explained.
Following their investigation, Cricket Australia had also mentioned that the convicted trio will have to complete 100 hours of community service before being considered for future selection. While Smith and Bancroft will have to wait two years before they are considered for leadership roles, Warner will never again be considered for captaincy.
When asked about the wrath he might have to face upon his return to cricket following the expiration of ban in March 2019, Warner said: "Everyone's entitled to their own opinion and I look back at the past that's happened and the sanctions that have been handed down by the ICC, it is what it is."
"For us to come out here and play the game we love, we're very fortunate for that and grateful for that opportunity that Canada cricket have given us. Critics will be critics, that's why they're behind the keyboards, they do what they do and we just move forward and try and ignore that,” he concluded.