Australia’s preparations for the Ashes are in turmoil after it emerged that David Warner is being investigated for an “unprovoked physical attack” on England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar last weekend.
Cricket Australia (CA) confirmed that it is investigating claims made by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) that batsman Warner started an altercation with Root in the Walkabout bar in the early hours of Sunday. Root and Warner were among several players from both teams who were in the bar following England’s 48-run win over their old rivals at Edgbaston. Root is believed to have been wearing a wig at the time.
Warner, 26, was stood down from yesterday’s Champions Trophy match against New Zealand and has been charged with breaching Rule 6 of Cricket Australia’s Code of Behaviour.
An ECB statement read: “David Warner initiated an unprovoked physical attack on a member of the England team in a Birmingham bar following England’s 48-run victory over Australia. Warner has admitted behaving inappropriately and has since apologised to the player involved who has accepted the apology. Following a full investigation the England team management has concluded that the England player was in no way responsible for nor retaliated to the attack.”
A statement from Walkabout confirmed that Warner and Root were both in the bar between 1:30am and 2:30am on Sunday morning. They said neither looked to have been “drinking to excess”.
The statement said a “small altercation between Warner and Root” took place, but was “dealt with very amicably and quickly by the rest of the group, and both were calmly chatting to each other again immediately afterwards.”
Two years after losing their first home Ashes series since 1987 Australia stood down four players for the tour of India – which they lost 4-0 – for failing to carry out a feedback exercise demanded by management.
Warner then sent out a foul-mouthed tweet aimed at two journalists – an act which led to him being fined around £3,700.
Since Australia arrived in England for the Champions Trophy they have lost to the hosts, captain Michael Clarke has been dogged by back problems and Warner overshadowed the team’s preparations for the crucial game against New Zealand.
England captain Alastair Cook said: “We are clearly disappointed that the incident has happened, but after investigating it from our side, we don’t believe we have done anything wrong.”
A video of Australia skipper Clarke warning fans to “drink within the boundaries” was played before yesterday’s game against New Zealand at Edgbaston. Warner, meanwhile, was helping deal with refreshments of a different kind. He was roped in to the job of serving his team-mates bottles of water during the drinks break at Edgbaston.