Currently subject to a 12-month suspension from international and state cricket for ball tampering, troubled Australian batman David Warner appeared to storm off the field yesterday following an alleged sledging by Jason Hughes.
Hughes is the brother of Warner’s late friend and teammate Phillip Hughes – with whom Warner opening batting for Australia – and who died during an afternoon session of the Sheffield Shield match between South Australia and New South Wales at Sydney Cricket Ground in 2014.
Opening for Randwick-Petersham during a club match against Western Suburbs, the shamed former Australian team vice-captain appeared to confer briefly with the umpire before leaving the field; only to return merely minutes later to continue his innings.
Australian media attribute sledging by Jason Hughes for the walk-off, who has allegedly labelled Warner a ‘disgrace’ in the wake of the ban resulting from his role in a ball tampering plot during the Test match against South Africa in March.
The tantrum seemed short lived, however, with Warner returning to score his second century since September’s start of the club season, making 157 for his first century in a red-ball game since the Cape Town Test.
Warner declined to comment following the match.
The incident foreshadows Monday’s release of an independent report by Cricket Australia into the ethos of the regulatory body and its role in the scandal.
Accusations of a purported ‘win-at-all-costs’ culture have been levelled at the body, in light of its considerable win bonuses.
Both Warner and Steve Smith – Australia captain at the time – were banned for 12 months for their part in allowing the attempted fraud during the Cape Town Test.
Batsman Cameron Bancroft – who actually attempted the tampering – was allotted a less severe penalty.
Whilst subject to the suspension, the three men are banned from Test cricket or Australian domestic matches.
They are nevertheless able to compete as part of profitable Twenty20 leagues abroad and allowed to participate in the Sydney grade competition.