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Warner publicly apologises for Root punch

ESPNcricinfo staff
June 13, 2013 « Live County Championship coverage | Chartbeat test »
David Warner: "I am extremely remorseful. I have let my team-mates down, the support staff, myself and my family" © Getty Images
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David Warner has publicly apologised for his bar-room altercation with Joe Root in Birmingham last week which has seen him suspended until the first Ashes Test.

In front of phalanx of TV cameras and photographers, Warner faced the press for the first time since the incident, and he accepted that he had to be "a bit smarter with what I do on and off the field". Australia captain Michael Clarke termed Warner's behaviour "unacceptable" and would not be drawn into endorsing Warner's leadership qualities as he had done in the past.

"I'm here today to apologise publicly and put my hand up and say I am responsible for my actions," Warner said. "I am extremely remorseful. I have let my team-mates down, the support staff, myself and my family."

Cricket Australia has already fined him and he has also been suspended for the rest of the Champions Trophy as well as two Ashes warm-up matches. "I have accepted the punishment. It is up to me to do everything I can to help the team to progress in the Champions Trophy and move on to have a great preparation for the Ashes."

Warner didn't expand on the details about the incident with Root - and would not confirm or deny that fancy dress was involved - but accepted that he had been drinking. "I definitely remember the night, It started out with a few drinks in the bar and as a team we went to the Walkabout. I made a mistake and I put my hand up," he said, adding that he had already apologised to Root. " I have exchanged text messages with Joe. He accepted my apology which I am thoroughly grateful for."

"This is not an IPL team, this is not state cricket, it's not county cricket, when you play for Australia there are standards you have to uphold"
Michael Clarke

This was Warner's second disciplinary problem in less than a month - having earlier had a Twitter spat with two journalists, Malcolm Conn and Robert Craddock, last month - and his captain Clarke was not impressed. "Although the punishment for David is quite harsh that's the reality when you play for the Australian cricket team," Clarke said. "This is not an IPL team, this is not state cricket, it's not county cricket, when you play for Australia there are standards you have to uphold."

"It's probably not the right time for me to sit here and be bragging about David's leadership qualities," Clarke added. "I've said in the past that he does have a lot of leadership qualities, but right now as captain of this Australian team, he knows very clearly how I feel. His behaviour is unacceptable as an Australian cricketer."

Clarke said that Warner "deserves credit" for owning up to his mistake. "I respect the fact David has put his hand up and wants to move forward, has apologised to Joe and acknowledged he has made a big mistake. He does deserve credit for putting his hand up."

Clarke felt the next few weeks provided Warner a chance to show his maturity and insisted the incident wouldn't disturb Australia's Ashes preparations. "I've said for a long time it's not what you say it's what you do and this is an opportunity for Warner to show the world what he does rather than what he says. We'll be 100% ready for the Ashes there's no doubt about it."

Warner admitted he was thankful to still be part of the tour although with a lack of warm-up matches his chances of appearing in the first Test at Trent Bridge appear slim. "I'm grateful to still be on this tour," he said. "I've got no cricket in the next month so will have to go back into the nets and prepare as well as I can and help my my team-mates, that I've let down, as much as I can in any way I can.

"It's disappointing to have two incidents in a matter of months. It's come three, four weeks after that incident out in India as well so I have to keep moving on from this."

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