Finally, Cricket Australia calls time on ‘attack dog’ David Warner’s brand of bullying

Australian cricketer David Warner listens to a question at a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on March 31, 2018, after returning from South Africa. (AFP)
Updated 31 March 2018
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Finally, Cricket Australia calls time on ‘attack dog’ David Warner’s brand of bullying

LONDON: James Sutherland, Cricket Australia’s boss, did not mince words when asked about David Warner.
“He is making some pretty ordinary decisions and getting himself into trouble, and he is bringing the game, his teammates and the team down. That is not going to be tolerated any longer,” Sutherland said.
Those words were not spoken after the ball-tampering episode in Cape Town. They were said after Warner threw a punch at Joe Root in Birmingham almost five years ago. But if the expectation was that Cricket Australia would rein in Warner, we were badly mistaken.
“You try to get into a battle as quick as you can,” said Warner in the build-up to last year’s Ashes. “I try to look in the opposition’s eye and work out how can I dislike this player, how can I get on top of him? You have to find that spark in yourself to really take it to the opposition. You have to delve and dig deep into yourself to get some sort of hatred about them.”
He retracted those words later, but the national board chose the nudge-nudge-wink-wink approach to the toxic sentiments expressed by the vice-captain. And as Australia romped through the Ashes 4-0, there was absolutely no rebuke for the Warner brand of bullying on the field.
Now, Warner is the one most expendable, the one Cricket Australia have hung out to dry as the main conspirator in what has come to be called SandpaperGate. Steve Smith can look forward to Redemption Road. For Warner, there is nothing. The announcement that he would never be considered for captaincy again was especially telling.
The silences and deflected answers in the Warner press conference were even more revealing, especially when he was asked if others were involved in the plot and if it was the first time Australia had done such a thing on the field.
If those advising Warner, legally and otherwise, decide that he has no international future — and the tune Cricket Australia has been humming suggests as much — they could well ask him to come clean in an exclusive media appearance. If he did, what he had to say could cause huge embarrassment to his former teammates and board officials.
Sutherland has banged on about the “spirit of cricket” in recent days. Those words were dropped from Cricket Australia’s strategic plan in 2017. As Gideon Haigh wrote in The Australian: “At times over the years, CA has given the appearance of caring little about the sport’s image, except as a brand or product. One was reminded this last week of the conference five years ago where CA’s commercial chief, Ben Amarfio, argued that controversy in sport was not a problem — it could even be advantageous.”
Now Warner, who in addition to his “ball maintenance” duties was also the team’s attack dog, is the one they are trying to put down.
“I know there are unanswered questions,” tweeted Warner after his tear-filled media conference. “In time, I will do my best to answer them all.”
For half a decade, Warner set the tone for Australia with both his bat and caustic tongue. He is unlikely to go quietly now.


Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

Updated 23 March 2019
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Finch's century helps fire Australia to eight-wicket win over Pakistan

SHARJAH: Aaron Finch's fine century drove Australia to a convincing eight-wicket win over a new-look Pakistan in the first one-day international on Friday.
The Austraian skipper scored 116 off 135 balls for his 12th one-day international century that helped his team overhaul the 281-run target in 49 overs on a flat Sharjah stadium pitch.
The win gives Australia the lead in the five-match series and has come on the back of their 3-2 series win in India earlier this month.
Finch's match-winning knock overshadowed Haris Sohail's maiden one-day hundred (101 not out) which helped Pakistan to 280-5 in their 50 overs.
The 32-year-old smashed Shoaib Malik for a huge six towards deep mid-wicket to complete his century -- his first since June last year against England at Chester-Le-Street -- off 120 balls.
Finch, who knocked four sixes and eight boundaries, added an innings-building 172 runs for the second wicket with Shaun Marsh who scored an unbeaten 91 off 102 balls with four boundaries and two sixes.
With 46 needed Finch became Mohammad Abbas's maiden wicket but Peter Handscomb hit 30 not out to help Marsh cross the line.
Finch and Marsh came together after opener Usman Khawaja fell for 24 to medium pacer Faheem Ashraf, the only other success Pakistan's new-look bowling attack could achieve.
Pakistan rested six of their key players including regular skipper Sarfraz Ahmed in order to keep them fresh for the World Cup starting in UK from May 30.
But the young and inexperienced Pakistan led by Malik proved no match for Australia, who are on a roll after their win in India earlier this month.
Left-hander Sohail, who reached 1,000 runs in his 27th one-day international when on 40, anchored Pakistan's innings, adding 98 for the third wicket with Umar Akmal who made a 50-ball 48 in his first international match for two years.
Sohail took a single to complete his hundred in the last over, finishing with six boundaries and a six.
Pakistan had handed one-day debuts to opener Shan Masood and Abbas -- who have played 15 and 14 Tests respectively.
Masood put on 35 in an opening stand with Imam-ul-Haq (17) before off-spinner Nathan Lyon dismissed Imam in the seventh over, caught and bowled.
Masood, who hit five boundaries in his 62-ball 40, was then bowled by paceman Nathan Coulter-Nile who finished with 1-38 in his 10 overs.
Umar smashed three sixes in one Jhye Richardson over but fell one short of his half century.
Malik fell for 11 and Ashraf and Imad Wasim scored 28 each.
Wasim hit four boundaries and a six during his 13-ball unbeaten knock, helping Pakistan to 55 runs in the last five overs.
Sunday's second ODI is also being played in Sharjah, with the third in Abu Dhabi (March 27) and the last two in Dubai (March 29 and 31).