David Warner says no 'threatening' sledging in modern cricket

Australian vice-captain David Warner insists 'threatening' sledges are non-existent in modern cricket. Photo / Photosport
Australian vice-captain David Warner insists 'threatening' sledges are non-existent in modern cricket. Photo / Photosport

Australian vice-captain David Warner has strenuously reaffirmed the evidence he gave at the Phillip Hughes inquest and declared there is no such thing as "threatening" sledging in modern cricket.

State Coroner Michael Barnes handed down findings on Friday which dismissed any suggestion sledging contributed in any way to Hughes' death.

However, he slammed sledging as the ugly underbelly of cricket and also questioned the legitimacy of evidence provided by players Brad Haddin, Doug Bollinger, Tom Cooper and Warner that suggested there was no on-field chat at the SCG that day.

Warner on Friday night stood by the version of events he presented via video link at the hearing last month.

"I'm happy with my testimony. The umpires said the same thing that there was no sledging out there and I'll stick to my word that there was no sledging out there," Warner said.

"I think we have to respect what they handed down and respect what their thoughts are as well.

"Us as cricket and Cricket Australia, our thoughts and respects are still with the Hughes family."

Bollinger was alleged at the inquest to have sledged Hughes or Tom Cooper with words to the effect of "I'm going to kill you" - something which was dismissed as irrelevant by the court, even if it was said.

Asked on Friday night if sledging was a wider problem for the game, Warner said he does not believe that such threatening language is used by anyone who plays cricket.

"At the end of the day we're all adults and when we're on the field we know what line not to cross," he said.

"Whether you're touching the player or you attack them personally, banter and sledging is about trying to create energy ... there are no direct threats to any player, that's totally gone.

"I don't even know if that was in the game. I've never been pointed at and said any words of any malice but for us it's just normal banter (that happens). It's not really sledging if you want to say it (like that). I don't think there's any in the game at the moment at all."

Meanwhile, Cricket Australia has pledged to fast-track research into neck guards so they can be made compulsory at the top levels of the game.

Many top class batsmen remain reluctant to wear the extra protection on helmets despite it being widely available and recommended by authorities in the wake of the Phillip Hughes tragedy.

CA boss James Sutherland said on Friday that two years on from Hughes' death and there was still no international standard to categorically rule on whether attachable neck guards are an effective piece of equipment.

Sutherland said it was cricket's duty to ensure a similar tragedy doesn't occur again, but another first-class season is set to go by without any real advancements being made in the way of helmet neck safety.

According to Sutherland, Australia would actively try and speed the process along in light of recommendations from State Coroner Michael Barnes.

"We currently recommend their use but I guess in terms of the scientific evidence that actually supports the fact that they actually make a difference it's not actually there yet," he said.

"Certainly the Coroner has recommended fast tracking the research to get an understanding of the right neck guards that can work practically on a helmet. They obviously need to be comfortable for the player but they also need to ensure safety.

"Once we get to that stage with the research and we're confident in that then we'll move to a stage of mandating but there's still some work to be done there. It's not an easy process to work through but hope to get to that stage as soon as possible."

The Coroner also recommended that cricket remove ambiguity from bouncer laws, however there is no suggestion that short-pitch fast bowling would be removed from the game.

- news.com.au

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