Saturday 23 September 2017

Cricket: David Warner dropped by Australia after punching England's Joe Root in Birmingham pub

Flashpoint: Warner (R) punched England's Joe Root during a drinking session on Saturday night, following Australia's defeat at Edgbaston Photo: Getty Images
Flashpoint: Warner (R) punched England's Joe Root during a drinking session on Saturday night, following Australia's defeat at Edgbaston Photo: Getty Images

Nick Hoult,

David Warner has been dropped by Australia for today's match against New Zealand and could be sent home from the tour after he punched England's Joe Root in a Birmingham bar on Saturday night.

Warner, the controversial Australian opener, punched the 22-year-old Root after an altercation in the Walkabout bar Birmingham, in the early hours of Sunday morning, after a drinking session following his side’s defeat to England on Saturday at Edgbaston.

A statement by the England and Wales Cricket Board confirmed Warner carried out an "unprovoked physical attack" on Root, who was reportedly drinking with England team-mates Steven Finn and Stuart Broad.

The statemenet read: "Warner has admitted behaving inappropriately and has since apologised to the player involved who has accepted the apology. Following a full investigation the England team management has concluded that the England player was in no way responsible for nor retaliated to the attack."

The ECB added that Warner's fate was now "a matter for Cricket Australia".

The Sydney Morning Herald reported Warner, who was with a group of half a dozen Australians, allegedly struck Root with a "glancing blow", and had to be restrained by bowler Clint McKay. Root is not understood to have been hurt in the incident.

Cricket Australia released a statement confirming Warner has been dropped from today's game and faces a disciplinary hearing for "behaviour unbecoming to a representative player" and bringing the game into disrepute.

The Australian management met with Warner this morning and a disciplinary hearing will be held later today via teleconference call with Cricket Australia officials in Melbourne.

"Warner has been reported for breaching Rule 6: Unbecoming Behaviour after he was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with an England player in the early hours of Sunday morning following the ICC Champions Trophy match between the teams in Birmingham," said the statement.

"Team management have stood down Warner pending the outcome of the hearing, meaning he will miss Australia’s match against New Zealand in Birmingham tonight."

The incident plunges Australia's tour of England into further turmoil. Last week they were bowled out for 65 in a warm-up match for the Champions Trophy against India and were thumped by England in their opening match. Captain Michael Clarke remains an injury doubt with a sore back which has so far ruled him out of the first two matches of the Champions Trophy.

Warner was in trouble before the tour started for a Twitter row with two Australian cricket journalists. He was fined £3,600 for the incident and a repeat offence so soon afterwards will leave the Australian management facing a dilemma.

Warner is a key member of the side, even if his form has dipped recently, but coach Mickey Arthur and Clarke are fighting to maintain discipline and showed their strength on the recent tour to India when they dropped four players for failing to supply requested feedback.

Sending him home from the Champions Trophy would be pointless given the tournament ends next week anyway, and dropping him from the Ashes would be a huge step, but with the tour descending into farce already, Australia may have to make an example of Warner. The left-handed opener has had a dismal run of form recently, reaching double figures only once in his last seven innings.

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