South Africa v Australia: Time to reign in David Warner and put an end to 'mental dis-integration'

Alex Broun 16:07 07/03/2018
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David Warner needs to tone down

Graeme Smith says David Warner is a ‘bit of a fool’ for losing his cool in “stairwell-gate

As an Australian, it’s difficult to take sides in this heated dispute – especially the other side – but it’s hard not to agree with the former Proteas captain here.

Warner led an hour long “mental disintegration” assault on Quinton de Kock and Aiden Markram as the South African duo threatened to pull off one of the greatest rescue acts in Test cricket history.

The tirade included Warner labelling de Kock’s sister a “bush pig” and also comments about the wicket-keepers mother. As Ron Burgundy said – “Leave mom out of it!”

Warner is even captured as the teams are going off the field still berating de Kock calling him a “f****** sook.” Class act Dave!

David Warner and his wife Candice Falzon.

David Warner and his wife Candice Falzon.

A few moments later the usually quiet de Kock had finally had enough and as the teams entered the dressing rooms fired back a comment relating to Warner’s wife, Candice Falzon, and an infamous tryst with All Blacks rugby star Sonny Bill Williams.

Cue hysteria from Warner who then had to be restrained by team mates. In the end it looked like Warner was the one “mentally dis-integrating.”

The Australian team and management then lined up in mock outrage – “We never get personal”, “They took it too far”, “De Kock crossed the line”.

The rest of the world is now asking ‘What exact line would that be?’

The same line that Ramnaresh Sarwan crossed replying to Glenn McGrath back in 2003 – Glenn similarly when into overdrive.

Sarwan and McGrath crossed "the line' back in 2003.

Sarwan and McGrath crossed “the line’ back in 2003.

But if you are going to call someone’s sister a “bush-pig” what else do you expect.

Davey, Davey, Davey – glass house. Big stone. Play with fire, get burnt. What don’t you get?

Coach Darren Lehmann stood by Warner after the incident but hopefully behind closed doors he is a delivering a different message.

Something along the lines of: “David – you are a remarkable man who has turned his life around both on and off the field, you and Candice have created a wonderful family. Do you really want your kids to see you behaving like this? We don’t need to do this to win cricket games.”

But the question is now being asked can the Aussie team win cricket matches without acting like goats?

Is this “mental dis-integration” approach so linked to their psyche that they become, as McGrath would say, “p******” without it?

It’s good to see the ICC stepping in and sanctioning Warner, and to a lesser extent De Kock, but the Umpires on the field – Kumar Dharmasena and Sundaram Ravi – should have acted sooner.

Kumar Dharmasena (r) should have acted quicker in Durban.

Kumar Dharmasena (r) should have acted quicker in Durban.

If you’re not stepping in when someone’s sister is being branded an animal – when are you going to?

It was the duo’s lack of action that allowed the situation to overheat as it did and resulted in the greatly regrettable outburst that followed.

Let’s hope when things get heated on Friday in Port Elizabeth – as no doubt they will – the Umps get involved earlier.

Cricket does not need – nor can it stand – too many more blow-ups in stairwells.

Already there is a lot of competition from other sports for the hearts and minds of young men and women.

When parents see a player with the standing of Warner acting in such an appalling manner – and that behaviour being supported by his team mates (yes you Tim Paine), captain and coach – what kind of message does it send out?

As a former wicketkeeper myself and one who indulged in more than enough sledging in my time – the practice does not do any credit to either party: the sledger or the sledged.

This kind of crude ‘banter’ is only accepted in cricket and there is no reason why it should be tolerated any longer.

For the game’s sake it’s time for the sledging to end.

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