Cricket: Warner denies problem with drinking

Australian batsman David Warner has denied he has a drinking problem but said he was consuming alcohol and acted aggressively when he punched England rival Joe Root in the face in a Birmingham pub.

Warner was fined A$11,500 ($13,689) and suspended for a month. He won't get another game before the Ashes, but was spared the embarrassment of becoming the first player sent home from an Ashes series.

The 26-year-old pleaded guilty to unbecoming conduct at the Cricket Australia hearing on Thursday.

Warner admits he was drinking and was "aggressive" at the Walkabout Hotel, where he struck Root in the face in the early hours of last Sunday morning.

However, he denied he has a problem with alcohol.

"Definitely not. I don't think I've got a drinking problem at all," said Warner yesterday.

"It's just basically I've got to make the right decisions at the right time."

Warner admitted he had been drinking on other nights during his stay in Birmingham, but denied he drank on those occasions until the early hours of the morning.

Former Australian captain Ricky Ponting admitted he had a drinking problem when he was left with a black eye after a bar incident in Sydney early in his career.

However, Warner stressed his situation shouldn't be compared to Ponting's when asked if he had a way to go to reform himself.

"What's happened in the past with Ricky is Ricky's thing," he said.

"This is up to me now to be accountable for my actions which I am.

"I have to apologise for what I did and I can't put myself in that position ever again.

"I've got to try and move on and do everything I can to get picked for this first test now I'm unavailable for this Champions Trophy."

Warner said the Australian team didn't have a drinking curfew but perhaps should have on a night when they'd lost to England in their Champions Trophy opener.

"That night wasn't a good time to go out and have a beer," he said.

"We'd lost a game.

"Even though we had a day off the next day we'd still lost. We don't have curfews but looking back there should have been in that situation."

Warner said he was "extremely remorseful" and that he'd let "not just my team-mates down but the Cricket Australia fans, the support staff, myself, my family. I'm sincerely apologetic and I'm just here to put my hand up and apologise."

The opening batsman refused to confirm speculation he reacted to Root using a wig as a beard to impersonate Muslim South African player Hashim Amla.

"That's irrelevant. Enough's been said. I'm just here today to put my hand up and say I'm accountable for my actions," he said.


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