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Warner breaks silence on 'disgusting' sledge

08 March 2018

Sam Ferris, in Port Elizabeth


Sam Ferris, in Port Elizabeth


Australia vice-captain opens up on stairwell incident, what triggered his 'emotional response' and how he'll approach the next Test

Australia vice-captain David Warner has broken his silence on the "vile and disgusting" personal sledge about his wife from Proteas gloveman Quinton de Kock and the stairwell scuffle that almost resulted in a Test suspension.

Warner was charged by the International Cricket Council, fined 75 per cent of his match fee and given three demerit points for his emotional outburst at de Kock outside the Kingsmead dressing rooms that required his teammates to physically restrain him.

He escaped suspension from the second Test, but only just, and says he regrets the way the stairwell incident played out.

But Warner made it crystal clear that he will always defend his family.

"I cop it left, right and centre, especially off the field from spectators and I'm used to that and it doesn't bother me," Warner said.

"But in a proximity of my personal space and from behind me, a comment that was vile and disgusting about my wife, and in general about a lady, was quite poor I felt.

"My emotional response was just something that I don't believe should have been said and I'll always stick up for my family and in that case my teammates as well."

In additional CCTV footage that has surfaced from outside the stairwell, Warner can be seen snapping as de Kock's alleged inflammatory verbal barb drew an immediate response from the Australia opener, who was guided away by Tim Paine.

The moment de Kock's words triggered Warner's 'emotional response' // CCTV

Paine and Usman Khawaja then helped restrain Warner in the stairwell before Australia captain Steve Smith emerged from the visitor's dressing room to help suppress his deputy as the Proteas, featuring a shirtless du Plessis, filed out to see what the commotion was all about.

CCTV shows Warner-de Kock incident

Asked whether he might have got physical with the South African wicketkeeper had his teammates not been there, Warner said that was not his intention.

"I would have liked him to actually say the comment a little bit louder instead of just muttering it under his breath next to me and Tim Paine and then walking up the stairs and saying 'I didn't say anything' as soon as the rest of his team came out," Warner said.

"At the end of the day, we're all men and if you're going to say something you look at someone in the eye and say it."

Following Australia's 118-run win in Durban, South Africa team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee said Warner "definitely" got personal when sledging de Kock in the lead up to the first Test.

There has been a suggestion de Kock's sister was mentioned out in the middle, a proposition Warner flat out rejected.

"No, I did not say that," he said.

Proteas legend weighs in on stairway incident

Having accepted the Level 2 charge and the addition of three demerit points to his disciplinary record, Warner is now just one minor indiscretion away from being suspended from a Test or two limited-overs internationals, whichever comes first.

But Warner says he will not curb his confrontational enthusiasm out on the field and pointed to his exemplary record over the past two years as evidence that he knows where to draw the line in the middle.

"You guys have seen the past 18-24 months how I conduct myself on the field," Warner said.

"What happened the other day was not appropriate and I responded a tad emotionally.

"But I think I've been fantastic the last 18-24 months.

"I play with aggression on the field and I try not to cross that line and it has been in the past that I have sort of been fiery.

"But I don't think whatsoever there on the field that I have ever crossed that line.

"That's how I play my cricket; I live by the sword and die by the sword.

"I'll keep playing with that energy and making sure I am the voice in the team to keep our guys motivated on the field, that's for sure."

Now there is just one sleep before day one of what's set to be a fiery second Test at St George's Park.

De Kock's 'personal' sledging out of line: Smith

While Warner says he will not back down, it's unclear as to how the Proteas will behave towards the visiting vice-captain.

But Warner said he would find it "quite poor" if similar comments to the one de Kock allegedly made were ushered in Port Elizabeth.

"I can't see anyone else making comments the way he made them, which were outright disgusting," Warner said. "As I said, it's a thing you wouldn't say about any lady, especially someone's wife or a player's wife."

Qantas tour of South Africa

South Africa squad: Faf du Plessis (c), Hashim Amla, Temba Bavuma, Quinton de Kock, Theunis de Bruyn, AB de Villiers, Dean Elgar, Heinrich Klaasen, Keshav Maharaj, Aiden Markram, Morne Morkel, Wiaan Mulder, Lungi Ngidi, Vernon Philander, Kagiso Rabada.

Australia squad: Steve Smith (c), David Warner (vc), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Peter Handscomb, Josh Hazlewood, Jon Holland, Usman Khawaja, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine, Jhye Richardson, Chadd Sayers, Mitchell Starc.

Warm-up match: Australia beat South Africa A by five wickets. Report, highlights

First Test Australia won by 118 runs. Scorecard

Second Test St George's Park, Port Elizabeth, March 9-13. Live coverage

Third Test Newlands, Cape Town, March 22-26. Live coverage

Fourth Test Wanderers, Johannesburg, March 30-April 3. Live coverage

About the Writer


Sam Ferris is a Sydney-based journalist for He started in 2011 as a Big Bash League correspondent and continues to monitor the domestic scene and national sides closely.