‘Making sure that I am the best person I can be’ – David Warner

04 Jan, 2019 10:13 am

SYDNEY (92 News) – Australian opening batsman David Warner, currently serving a ban handed down by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball-tampering scandal, spoke out in a rare press conference in Bangladesh.

Warner is currently serving a 12-month ban for his role in encouraging his Australia team-mate Cameron Bancroft to use sandpaper in an attempt to alter the condition of the ball. Comments from current captain Tim Paine appeared to leave the door open to Warner and Steve Smith to return once their bans are up, but Warner isn’t thinking too far ahead.

“It is up to the selectors whether or not they want to pick me,” he said. “At the end of the day, all I can do is score runs in this tournament and the IPL, keep putting my hand up and making sure that I am the best person I can be.”

Part of Warner’s punishment by CA was a lifetime ban from holding captaincy positions, but he will still be leading the Sylhet Sixers in the Bangladesh Premier League.

David Warner and Steve Smith will face off at the BPL

“I am extremely grateful to be leading the side,” he said. “For me it is about making sure that we as a whole, including the support staff and management, can get the best out of the players. We have to establish our best XI when we get into the park and make sure we do the right things in training. I have to make sure I am doing my job right, which is scoring runs and leading the guys on the park.”

On Sunday 6 January, Sylhet will take on Comilla Victorians in a mouthwatering clash that will pit Warner against his former Australia captain and ball-tampering co-conspirator Smith. Warner however thinks the game is about far more than one cricketer on each side.

“I will just treat it as another game. It is not just taking on one player but taking on a team of eleven players. It is about making sure that our bowlers know how to get Smith out, and then tackle the rest of the guys.”

Warner reportedly encouraged Bancroft to tamper with the ball

Still, Warner will be key to his sides chances as one of the world’s best T20 batsmen. He has been playing grade cricket in Australia and feels in good form coming into the tournament, though he acknowledges that conditions will present a challenge.

“I was having a conversation with Waqar [Younis, Sylhet coach] today about playing club cricket in Australia at the moment,” he said. “The wickets are quite low and slow. It has been tough to adapt to those conditions but I have had a very good run of form at home and having played here in Dhaka and Chattogram before, I know what the wicket is going to be like. So for me it is about getting into a routine and rhythm and making sure I can lead from the front, from the top so it makes it easy for the guys coming in.”

However, while Warner has been playing some cricket, he has been able to enjoy some of the benefits of being away from the grind of the professional scene.

“Life has been good for me,” he said. “I have been spending time with the family. I wouldn’t be able to do that if I wasn’t sitting in the sidelines. It is about getting the best out of myself and growing as a human being. The most important thing was being a father and husband at home. Now it is down to playing cricket again and making sure I get Sylhet Sixers on top of the table.”

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