Australia’s cricket public – still hurting after an extraordinary week of developments by the ball-tampering scandal – are still baying for blood following David Warner’s press conference in Sydney on Saturday, writes GARY LEMKE in the Gold Coast.
Warner said ‘sorry’ and repeatedly apologised for his part in the saga during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands, which has resulted in him and Steve Smith stripped of their leadership duties and banned for 12 months, while Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban from the game. Smith and Bancroft apologised in separate emotional media appearances to the nation and the cricketing world on Thursday.
Despite the embarrassment suffered, Australians have in general accepted that both Smith and Bancroft ‘came clean’ and were sincere with their apologies, but they were looking to Warner to reveal the full, explosive details.
His media conference fell short of that. A long way short – and it has left more questions than answers. I tweeted that it was a car crash of a press conference and that view appears to be felt across Australia, with replays of the statement on TV throughout the day and endless reaction coming from it.
Questions that Warner refused to answer, apart from issuing a standard and rehearsed, ‘I’m here to accept my responsibility for the part that I played in day three’ included:
‘Who else was involved. We know you were involved, Cameron Bancroft was involved, Steve Smith was involved. Can you, hand on your heart say no other players, coaches knew about your plot – that happened in South Africa?’
‘Can you, hand on your heart, say you have never done this in any match before, you have never been involved to do this in any other match or this has not occurred as to your knowledge in any other match that Australia has played in.’
‘Do you feel you have been made a scapegoat here. You are holding back with some of your answers. Are you being singled out?’
WATCH: Warner press conference
His inadequate replies smack of a cover-up, and the growing consensus is that while Warner came across as sincere in his apology, he has not taken the story any further than it was before he addressed the media. Warner was reduced to tears – like Smith was – when speaking about the impact the scandal has had and is having, on his family, by hardened hacks that aren’t falling for that – just at the moment.
Individual members of the media were only allowed to ask one question and among those that weren’t asked included, ‘You apologise for the role you played, but tell us what that specific role was’.
Warner simply refused to get drawn into anything thrown in that ‘corridor of uncertainty’ – a far cry to the swashbuckling opening batsman that he was.
As reaction poured in, Warner himself took to Twitter nearly two hours after his press conference to say: ‘I know there are unanswered questions and lots of them. I completely understand. In time I will do my best to answer them all. But there is a formal CA process to follow. I am taking advice to make sure I properly comply with that process and answer all questions in the proper place and at the proper time. I should have mentioned that in my press conference I’m sorry for not making it clearer. With so much at stake for my family and cricket, I have to follow this process properly. I think that’s fair.’
Photo: Brendan Thorne/Getty Images