Warner was in national kit for the first time since his 12 month ban expired last month. Picture: Tara Croser.
Warner was in national kit for the first time since his 12 month ban expired last month. Picture: Tara Croser.

Warner slips back into Aussie fold

DAVID Warner has taken a small but significant step in his reintegration into the Australian cricket team simply by catching a plane on Thursday.

It wasn't where he was going - Brisbane - that was significant. It was who else was on the plane.

Warner, wearing team kit, arrived in Brisbane with fellow Sydneysiders Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Nathan Lyon and captain Aaron Finch for Australia's World Cup training camp, which will include three trial matches against a weakened New Zealand side next week.

Warner re-enters the Australia fold following the ending of his year-long ban for being the mastermind of Australia's ball-tampering affair against South Africa in Cape Town.

It had been widely reported and understood the relationship between Warner and the bowlers dipped to crisis point after the ball tampering affair.

The bowlers denied they threatened to boycott the final Test of the series if Warner played but their collective anger was well known.

While catching the same flight together is hardly a sign that all has been forgiven and forgotten, it is symbolic of the collective will of a team trying to move on from the Cape Town trauma.

When Warner and Steve Smith returned to Sydney from the South African tour they did so via separate flights in a deliberate move to short circuit the tension between the duo.

There was no sign of lingering animosity between Warner and the team’s NSW bowlers. Pic Tara Croser.
There was no sign of lingering animosity between Warner and the team’s NSW bowlers. Pic Tara Croser.

Asked whether he was happy to see Warner back in the team kit, Starc said "it is great to see everyone with the team kit on … it has been a while for a few of us.''

"I have seen the IPL highlights and he has been on fire over there along with Steve and that is great for the group.''

Asked if the scandal has been put to bed Starc said "that is up to you guys, isn't it?''

"We have all had our meetings … as far as we are concerned it is onwards and upwards to the World Cup. The meeting I was involved with 95 per cent was not about Dave and Steve and the group. It was about where the team was going … we have another meeting this afternoon and I am sure it will be brought up there. But it's all rosy.''

Warner, who did not talk to media at the airport, spent a good deal of time waiting for his bags talking to his long time opening partner Aaron Finch.

 

They even shared a joke at the trolley hire stand where one of the players had to flash a credit card for a $4 hiring fee - making sure the card details were not shown to clicking cameras.

Warner offered a hearty "G'Day Gaz'' and a firm handshake to Nathan Lyon and signalled to Starc from a distance that his bags had been placed on a trolley.

Relationships were feared to be broken forever when Warner took himself off the team Whatsapp group and one of the bowlers contacted the Australian Cricketers Association asking them to distance him from the scandal during the final weeks of the South African tour.

Warner seemed comfortable handling one set of baggage at least. Pic Tara Croser.
Warner seemed comfortable handling one set of baggage at least. Pic Tara Croser.

But Australia is now working hard to mend things with players accepting they may never be as close as they were but determined to establish workable, respectful relationships, especially with the World Cup and Ashes series meaning they will spend around five months together in England.

The year off freshened up Warner, who was in blistering form in the Indian Premier League, topping the run-scorers list with 692 runs at 69.2 with a strike rate of almost 150.

He has had a close look at his game and concentrated on getting his balance right and head still.

Smith was not on the plane because he came in earlier from the Indian Premier League.

News Corp Australia


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