David Warner, it was suggested during the first Test at SuperSport Park between South Africa and Australia, is no Rhodes scholar. He may, though, be a “Roads” scholar for that may be how he thinks it is spelt. Warner is not a man whose off-field intelligence is held with high regard.
The headline that spoke of the “Warner slur” could not have been closer to the essence of the man. Even when sober, this most talented of batsmen speaks with all the sense of a man three sheets to the wind. He does not have a problem with booze, as he rather forcefully emphasised after his attempted smack to the face of Joe Root during the Ashes. That makes the daftness of his ball-tampering accusations against South Africa and AB de Villiers in particular, all the more disgraceful. They were at best contrary to the tough, respectful spirit this Test series is being played in; at worst they were defamatory and deserving of a sanction. If he was drunk, they may have been easier to understand.
By saying that no one took anything Warner said seriously, South African team manager Dr Mohammed Moosajee (that’s Moosajee with a “J”, for those who mugged his name this week) was echoing what the Australian media have known for ages. Last year, Warner was involved in a Twitter attack on Robert “Crash” Craddock, a respected Australian cricket writer and columnist. Crash wrote a scathing piece on the IPL. Warner tweeted: “Shock me @crashcraddock1 talking sh*t about ipl jealous pr*ck. Get a real job. All you do is bag people. #getalife”. Unfortunately for Warner, Malcolm Conn, the chief cricket writer for the News Limited group, waded into the conversation and hit Warner harder than he had Crash. It got nasty.
“@davidwarner31 cricket is a real job? Please. Most people pay to play. Million dollar cricketers milking the IPL are hardly the best judges”, tweeted Conn. Warner replied with, “all you do is talk sh*t as well” and “are you still talking you old fart, no wonder know (sic) one buys your paper,” before Conn got in the last volley with: “Its becoming increasingly obvious why Brad Haddin was brought back as vice captain. Your (sic) lengths behind in that race.”
Warner has been known to use Twitter to bitch about the “whingers” and “haters” he perceives are against him. No little amount of paranoia there, then. Conn and Warner made up after their war of words, but Conn had no time for the Australian’s ball-tampering claims, writing this week that he made the Australians look like the whingers and lacked respect.
After the Test at St George’s, Warner tweeted: “Well batted today by Bucky, not an ideal result but we will fight back.” Then added, for some reason: “Sorry iPhone BATTED!! I am blonde”