Meredith: How Warner Should Respond

Dear David Warner,

I have been a big fan of yours pretty much since your international debut, when you blew us apart with 89 off 43 balls against South Africa at the MCG, in a T20 international for you, a 22-year-old, before you had even made your first class debut. I saw as you followed this up with a series of wonderful knocks for Australia in both T20 internationals and ODIs, and eventually also in first class games for New South Wales. I was excited when you joined the test team too, and everything about you has been exciting. The best thing about you is that you have always been honest. You are brutally honest, which has gotten you into trouble more than once, but the thing is that you are honest and you are not afraid to speak the truth, even when it is going to cause you problems.

I know that you are worried that a public statement about the ball tampering affair might look bad on you, so I have written for you a statement that you can use that speaks truthfully about the affair and your own role in it, which makes your public image look good. I urge you to consider this, and writing this, or something similar to this, to the Sydney Morning Herald or a similar sympathetic newspaper, to set up a public interview perhaps with Adam Gilchrist perhaps just before the ban expires in March of next year. Please consider this seriously, and for people who are close to you, please can you try to help for David Warner to see this.

Thank you.

Your fan,

Adrian Meredith

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Dear Australian cricket fans,

The recent ball tampering scandal, for which I was banned for 12 months for my involvement in, has told a great toll on Australian cricket, and, like the rest of you, I am appalled and angry at what has transpired. When I saw on the big screen at Newlands in South Africa Cameron Bancroft rubbing something on the ball, I could hardly believe my eyes. I have seen other teams do it, but I never thought I would see the day that my Australian cricket team would be doing this. I felt like running out there and telling Bancroft to stop it right now, and to confess to the umpires what he had done, but I did not do that, and for that mistake I apologise.

As vice-captain, I had a responsibility to encourage my fellow players to do the right thing, and I failed in that duty. That was my failure as a vice-captain.

As many of you know, I was not charged by the International Cricket Council for, under ICC rules, I had committed no offence. Bancroft, as you all know, was charged with ball tampering and he was found guilty of ball tampering, the result of which is that he was fined 75% of his match fee and had 2 demerit points added to his account. Related to this, Steve Smith was charged and found guilty of bringing the game into disrepute, for which he was banned for 1 test match. Once again, I was not charged, for I had not done anything against the rules, as defined by the International Cricket Council.

Cricket Australia, as my employers, chose to conduct an investigation, which gave both Smith and Bancroft much harsher penalties, and also charged me, in spite of my being cleared of any wrongdoing by the ICC, and gave me a penalty that was harsher than that which either Smith or Bancroft faced. While Smith was also banned for 12 months, and given a 2 year ban on captaining Australia, I was banned for life from any captaincy roles within Australian cricket.

I am extremely disappointed in the penalty I received, which I do not believe was fair or just, considering that I was cleared of any wrongdoing by the ICC, and considering that none of my actions, either what actually happened or what I was accused of doing, constitute wrongdoing per the laws of the game.

I felt that I was scapegoated by Cricket Australia, that I was the one to be made an example of, and I felt that that was unfair.

A lot of people have asked me why I chose not to appeal the ban and the answer is simple: I received legal advice that it was in my best interests not to appeal. My choosing not to appeal the ban does not in any way indicate that I am admitting guilt for what I was accused of doing, nor that I consider it to be fair; rather, it simply indicates that, after weighing up the repercussions of an appeal, and after receiving legal advice, I decided not to appeal. My main motivator towards not appealing was because I want to play cricket for Australia. That is my aim now and that was my aim then. By appealing the bans, the advice I received was that I would not play for Australia again.

As I said in my interview soon after I was banned, I am deeply sorry for my role in this. I am sorry that I did not take Cameron Bancroft aside and tell him not to tamper with the ball. That was my role in this and that is what I am sorry about.

As many of you know, my wife Candice and I lost a child recently, and that has been our focus. While I would love to get back to cricket, and I would have loved to have been playing cricket for Australia this whole time, I realised that my wife and my family come first.

When I was in South Africa, my wife was targeted by certain members of the South African public, wearing masks depicting her ex-boyfriend Sonny Bill Williams’s face, amidst rumours that she had been having an affair with him, and that situation made me very, very angry, and I said some things that I should not have said, and for that I am sorry too.

One thing that I want to say, which I have always said throughout my career, is that I will never cheat and I will never lie. My integrity is everything to me. I would like to reassure the Australian cricketing public that I did not tamper with the ball, nor did I do anything against the rules of cricket, or cheat in any way, or encourage anyone else to cheat. I accept my penalty, whilst it is harsh, and in my opinion unfair, as a message to all Australians that we do not tolerate cheating.

While I wish that this could have occurred without me being scapegoated, I accept that it helps Australian cricket moving forward to have this harsh and unfair penalty.

I am excited to get back into cricket as soon as possible and doing my best to help Australia to win the World Cup and to help us to win the Ashes in England, something we haven’t done for a long time.

Yours sincerely,

David Warner

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