I have had my say in SA Cricket magazine about on-field sledging, and now I want to cover the off-field banter. There was a lot of big talk during the Test series against Australia, mostly by Graeme Smith and Michael Clarke.
I thought it was a great way of getting people excited for the clash. In a series between SA and Australia, there will always be a lot of stuff said, on and off the field, and it’s because the players have similar personalities.
South Africans and Aussies like to take the fight to the opposition, and talking your team up can be a part of that. It was great watching the banter develop over the series as each team took the upper hand. Unfortunately, David Warner’s comments weren’t great.
Trying to accuse AB de Villiers and the rest of the Proteas of something untoward in their roughing up of the ball in the second Test was over the line. We all know Warner likes to talk, but he’s gone too far. It started at the beginning of the summer, when he made nasty comments about Jonathon Trott, who pulled out of the tour due to depression, during the first Ashes Test.
I think the time has come for Warner to understand that what he’s saying is not in the spirit of the game. I’m a firm believer that coaches and captains should do the talking, as they’re experienced at handling the media. It’s clear Warner isn’t intelligent when it comes to that kind of thing, and he should be paying the price for speaking out of turn.
I know he was fined 15% of his match fee for the comments about AB, but that wasn’t anywhere near enough as far as I’m concerned. Compare that with Faf du Plessis, who was fined 50% of his match fee for wearing the wrong colour shoelaces in the same Test! Something is wrong when someone can be fined more for a clothing mishap, which has no effect on the game whatsoever, than someone who has called into question the integrity of a fellow player, without any evidence.
I would like the ICC to reconsider what’s important in the game, and focus on that. They can’t justify the disparity in those fines. And as for Warner – he should leave the talking to the experts and let his bat do the talking, as it did in the final, deciding Test in Cape Town.