David Warner sanctioned by ICC

Opener fined for ball tampering comments

Australian opening batsman David Warner has been fined by the International Cricket Council for comments he made in the wake of the second Test relating to methods the South Africans were supposedly employing to get the ball to swing.

Warner was cited under article 2.1.7 of the ICC’s code of conduct and fined 15 per cent of his match fee, which is understood to equate to around $A3,000.

“It was disrespectful for David to publicly denigrate an opponent when commenting on a match-related incident, and imply that a South African player was engaging in sharp practice. I’m sure David will be careful when making public comments in future,” said ICC match referee Roshan Mahanama. 

Warner has accepted the penalty.

Article 2.1.7 relates to public criticism of, or inappropriate comment in relation to an incident occurring in an international match or any player, player support personnel, match official or team.

Warner made the comments when interviewed on Sky Sports’ Big Sports Breakfast radio program in Australia the day after the Test in Port Elizabeth – which South Africa won by 231 runs on the back of some inspired reverse swing bowling from Dale Steyn.

The Australian batsman indicated his team would approach the umpires to ask them to keep a close eye on the way the South Africans were handling the ball, which is regarded as a key to getting the ball to swing ‘reverse’ once it has lost its initial shine.

In particular, Warner singled out Proteas wicketkeeper AB de Villiers who he claimed was using his gloves to further rough up the non-shiny side of the ball although he stopped short of making any specific allegations.

Warner’s claims prompted an angry response from the South Africans, with coach Russell Domingo saying: “It's always disappointing to hear comments like that.

“We are a very motivated team and this has probably added 10 per cent to our motivation levels to show David Warner and the Australians that we don't play our cricket like that.

“We pride ourselves on playing cricket honestly.”

Warner’s comments were also understood to have annoyed a number of his teammates, coming as they did in the wake of South Africa’s emphatic win that was achieved in part due to Australia’s inability to combat or replicate the reverse swing that the home team produced.

It was therefore seen by many to constitute “sour grapes” and led Australian fast bowler Ryan Harris to claim he had seen nothing untoward in the way the South Africans were treating the ball and to dismiss suggestions that anything contrary to the laws of the game was being perpetrated.