Australia’s David Warner has admitted that punching Joe Root in a Birmingham bar has helped turn into the player, and the man, he is today.
After the incident in 2013, Warner took a barrage of criticism as well as a series of punishments after he lost his cool with the England batsman during the Champions Trophy.
It cost his place in the team and he was nationally berated for his behaviour.
The Ashes tournament that followed saw England ease to a 3-0 series win with Warner joining the team half-way through.
Four years later, and Warner has climbed his way back to the top and has become Australia’s Test vice-captain.
With visible self-improvement both on and off the field, the now happily married father of two is one of the most feared batsman in the world, and punching Root, bizarrely, played a key part in that.
Speaking ahead of Saturday’s must-win ODI match with England, Warner said: “It was definitely a pivotal moment. In becoming the person I am today and not just the cricketer.
“We all go through periods where we’re young and naive. It’s not about stuffing up and moving on, it’s about learning the ropes of being away on tour for such a long period of time.
“The things you have to think about as a youngster, what can or can’t I do. I probably didn’t work that out at that stage but now I have and have a great balance on and off the field.
“It was a learning curve for myself. I was young and now I’m old. Two kids and married. There’s a lot of settling down there. If I see him I'll give him a handshake.
“The bull can be out, here and there. Just depends on what day you get me.
"Most of the time, I’m probably the reverend - as they say - but look, it’s about coming out and winning games for Australia and being the best person I can around the team and around people outside cricket.”
When asked if he would go back to the bar where the infamous punch took place, Warner said: “If they give me a couple of free drinks, some diet cokes, and the rest of the boys they can shout them a table.”
Who knew that punching someone could be such a pivotal moment in a cricketer's life.
Let's hope there are no fisticuffs when the two collide again this weekend.
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