Birmingham - Australia vice-captain David Warner believes
he's a better man for the incident that saw him punch England's Joe Root in a
Birmingham bar four years ago.
Warner was suspended and fined after the incident during the
2013 Champions Trophy following England's victory over Australia at Edgbaston.
Now almost four years to the day, Australia are back at
Edgbaston for what is set to be a must-win Champions Trophy group fixture
against arch-rivals England on Saturday, with Warner and Root key batsmen for
their respective teams.
"It was a learning curve for myself," Warner told
reporters at Edgbaston on Thursday.
"I was young and now I'm old," the 30-year-old
left-hander added. "I've two kids and I'm married. There's a lot of
settling down there.
"It definitely was (key) to me becoming the person I am
today, not just the cricketer.
"We all go through periods when 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. There are things you have to
think about as a youngster: what you can or can't I do."
Warner, reflecting on the changes in his life, said: "I
probably didn't work that out at that stage. But now I have and I have a great
balance on and off the field."
As for meeting up with Root this weekend, Warner added:
"If I see him I'll give him a handshake."
It was suggested at the time that Warner felt Root, who was
messing about with a wig, was somehow mocking South Africa's Muslim batsman
Root and his England team-mates have always denied any such
inference, insisting the Yorkshireman was making fun of his youthful appearance
and difficulty in growing facial hair.
One reason why this point did not gain much traction at the
time was because it was at odds with Warner's, the image of a hard-drinking
"People didn't look too far or deep into it to see who
was in the right or wrong," Warner said.
"But that's all gone, it's in the past and we can tell
a happily ever after story at the end of my career."
Known back then by the nickname 'Bull', Warner's team-mates
now fondly refer to him as 'Rev', a sign of how his life has changed although
the 'Bull' has not disappeared from the scene completely.
"It just depends what day you get me," explained
"Most of the time, I'm probably the Reverend - as they
say - but it's about winning games for Australia and being the best person I
can around the team and around people outside cricket."
Meanwhile Warner said he would return to Birmingham's
Walkabout bar, the scene of the altercation with Root, so long as soft drinks
were on the house.
"If they give me a couple of free drinks, some diet
cokes, and the rest of the boys, they can shout them a table," he said.