LONDON: Australia’s vice-captain David Warner has compared the Ben Stokes affair to his 2013 suspension for punching Joe Root, saying his transgression was “a lot less than we’ve seen on the footage” of the England allrounder in a Bristol bar.
Warner’s glancing blow at Root was called a “despicable thing” by Cricket Australia’s chief executive James Sutherland and resulted in his ban from Australia’s 2013 Ashes warm-up matches, effectively suspending him from the first two Tests of that series.
Warner was also made to deliver a public apology in London, and the saga indirectly led to the sacking of coach Mickey Arthur, who was replaced by Darren Lehmann. However, there was neither footage of the incident nor any police investigation, and Warner rebounded to be a key player in the return series in Australia later that year.
“I did do my time. It was a lot less than what we’ve seen on that footage, that’s for sure,” Warner said in Sydney. “It’s up to them what they want to do – how they punish him [Stokes] and first of all it’s up to the police. Obviously with their investigation findings, to see what happens there. I think everyone in the world is waiting to see what happens there and what the outcome is.
“I had to deal with the situation that I was dealt with. Does Cricket Australia regret that or not? I don’t know. I just copped it on the chin and moved forward. One thing they didn’t have was video footage, I’d still like to know where that is.”
The episode and subsequent suspension was a turning point of sorts for Warner, who on the same Ashes tour struck up a relationship with his now wife Candice Falzon and started to develop the routines and disciplines that have him working as Steven Smith’s deputy.
“Each individual has their ups and downs – and that was my turning point,” Warner said. “I can’t really speak about, if it didn’t happen, what would have happened and where would I be. For me it was one where I really turned the corner, knuckled down and worked my backside off to get where I was.
“I am fortunate enough that my wife came into my life at that time and really got me into a routine. What happened, happened, I dealt with the situation as it was dealt, copped it on the chin and moved on.”