David Warner says he has “no regrets” about the ball-tampering scandal that threatened to end his cricket career almost six years ago.
It was in Cape Town in early 2018 when Warner and then-Test teammate Cameron Bancroft devised a plan to use sandpaper to alter the condition of the ball during a match against South Africa.
When they were busted by broadcast cameras, Cricket Australia banned the pair and then-captain Steve Smith.
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Warner spent 12 months in the cricket wilderness, and was also banned from holding a leadership position within Australian cricket teams forever.
It’s an ugly subhead on a career that has otherwise proved fruitful for Warner, who heads into his final Test match this week with 8695 runs at an average of 44.58 in the format.
While the polarising batter has largely dodged questions about Cape Town since his 2019 return – it’s widely believed he is saving the juiciest facts for his first biography – he did reminisce on the episode when speaking to media in Sydney on Monday.
“Reflecting on that, that whole period and my whole career, I’ve got no regrets,” Warner said.
“You’re going to have a lot of hurdles that you have to jump, there’s going to be obstacles along the way.
“But you have to move forward, and I’ve done that with dignity.
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“I’ve got a lot of passion for the game, and it was important from my perspective that I’m giving back. Not just gaining the respect back, but putting Australian cricket first.”
Warner also spoke about the time immediately following the 2018 scandal, saying he believed a higher power was watching over him and his family.
“When I left Africa the first five or six people who came up to me were priests, and gave me a card. Then we went on holiday to Singapore after that and there was a big church convention, and I then sat back and spoke to (wife) Candice and said ‘someone is clearly watching down upon us’,” he said.
“It just grew strength from there to go back and play grade cricket, get a sense of that cricket community belief back.
“The canteen ladies, the people who run the drinks out, taking off and (putting) on the covers… it was something I sort of got disconnected with, and a lot of us do because we’re in this bubble.
“But when you go back and see the real people who are working hard, that’s what I reflect most on.
“If I can continue making sure that people understand where you come from and how you got to where you are, I think that’s very important, I think that’s a lesson that I learned.”
Warner will line up for his final Test match when Australia hosts Pakistan at the SCG from Wednesday.
He also announced on Monday he will retire from one-day international cricket, but will continue to play the Twenty20 format.