Reformed bad boy David Warner has accepted an olive branch from his harshest critic, with Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland giving him his 100 per cent backing.
Sutherland has previously described Warner’s behaviour as ‘despicable’, following the infamous incident with Joe Root at a Birmingham pub and, more recently, warned him to ‘stop looking for trouble’.
That comment came from an on-field confrontation with India’s Rohit Sharma which ended with Warner demanding the batsman ‘speak English’.
Since then, Warner has taken huge strides to turn around the public perception of him as the bad boy of Australian cricket.
And the character realignment has been noticed by those at the top of Australian cricket, with Warner announced as deputy to newly installed skipper Steve Smith.
It wasn’t immediately endorsed by Sutherland, but had since been followed up by a phone call in which it was made it clear that Warner’s ascension to the vice-captaincy was no throwaway gesture.
The 28-year-old was being rewarded for showing improvements in his attitude, taking more responsibility and breaking away from his wild child image.
Warner recently made a decision to step back from his role as Australia’s on-field ‘attack dog’, where he would antagonise opposition batsmen with sledges and barbs while in the field.
Now, he insists he has the 100 per cent backing of Australia’s top dog.
“(The phone call) was more about the last 12-18 months (and) how I’ve turned everything around and probably more addressed my game and the professionalism I’ve shown on and off the field,” Warner said.
“(Sutherland) just said that it’s a reward for all the stuff I’ve been doing.
“I think the hard work and sacrifices I’ve made to be the person I am today – all that has been rewarded now.
“He strongly said to me that I’ve got his full support and he’s backing me 100 per cent to do the right job.
“So I thank him and obviously the board for giving me that opportunity to work under Steve and I’ll take that opportunity and, hopefully, I can help guide Steve with any help in as many areas as possible.”
Warner said he regretted the Sharma incident during Australia’s victory in the Tri-Series final against India in January, and had taken ownership of it as an error he was not going to repeat.
He does, however, still feel as though the full story is yet to be told about what happened out on the field, and the explosive fallout which followed.
“The Rohit Sharma stuff … was quite disappointing (to have) actually (been) shown out there,” he said.
“(But) I think if people actually understood what was going on, it would be much better but … it was actually quite tough (for me).
“But that was my fault.”