Johannesburg - Damned
as the chief plotter in the Australian ball-tampering scandal, David
Warner has been sunk by sparking one controversy too many.
READ: CONFIRMED: Warner the man behind #SandpaperGate
The man who made headlines in 2009 by becoming the first player in
130 years to represent Australia without having featured in a
first-class match was heading home from South Africa in disgrace on
Wednesday, friendless and with his reputation, already bruised by
numerous run-ins, shattered.
Along with skipper Steve Smith, the 31-year-old Warner was banned for
a year by Cricket Australia for his part in the third Test scandal in
Cape Town that saw Cameron Bancroft use sandpaper to illegally scuff up
the ball before a laughingly crude attempt to conceal the evidence down
"He (Warner) spoke with Cameron (Bancroft) in the change room while
Smith was otherwise engaged, seemingly with a lot on his mind," a
Cricket Australia source told AFP, recalling Saturday's events at
"I believe Smith knew something was going on, but did not try to find out exactly what."
For many in the game, Warner's involvement as the instigator of the lunch-time plot is hardly a surprise.
"David Warner is a hard man to keep quiet. If his bat isn't doing the
talking his mouth probably is, and either way you can expect an
assertive approach," is how the Cricinfo website opens its
biography of the opening batsman.
In June 2013, Warner was suspended and fined for punching England's Joe Root in a Birmingham bar on the eve of the Ashes.
"I'm extremely remorseful. I have let my team-mates, Cricket
Australia, the fans, myself and my family down," said Warner at the
Two months earlier, he was similarly contrite after an ugly Twitter spat with two Australian journalists.
"I could have chosen my words better and I apologise for any offence that my language may have caused," wrote Warner.
But his trademark combative nature never dimmed.
READ: Aussies caught lying - AGAIN! It WAS sandpaper!
Last year, he was the team's
unofficial shop steward as Australian players and governing body Cricket
Australia found themselves at loggerheads over a pay dispute.
The row, played out in the public arena, even briefly put the Ashes in doubt.
Warner defended his style, which even then hinted at an ability to
shout louder than the boyish-looking Smith, who preferred quiet
"The way he (Smith) went about it (talks between the players and CA)
was how he wanted to play it and I was always going to come out and be
vocal and sticking up for the players," Warner told Australian media.
Hardly surprising then that Warner, who was vice-captain to Smith with the national team, has been nicknamed 'The Reverend'.
Not that there was any indication of anything holy about him as he
led Australia's assault on the current, doomed South African tour.
READ: A look at the 48 matches Steve Smith and David Warner will miss
In the opening Test in Durban, he and home wicket-keeper Quinton de Kock squared up.
Warner claimed De Kock had made "vile and disgusting" remarks about his wife Candice.
Warner was fined 75 percent of his match fee and De Kock 25 percent.
The Cape Town scandal has already brought Warner financial misery,
his $1.9 million deal with Hyderabad Sunrisers in the IPL
When his ban ends, his dream of captaining Australia will also have died.
Whether or not he will be considered too toxic to add to his 74 Test
appearances and 6 000-plus runs will be a factor weighed against him.
'The Reverend', it appears, has become 'The Unwanted'.