For once it would have been nice to believe David Warner when he walked off the ground in the middle of his innings in Sydney grade cricket and told the umpires he was "removing myself from the game".

Like many of his utterances, Warner's threat proved as effective as Cricket Australia's crackdown on behaviour in their national sport.

Garbage gob had been sledged by the Western Suburbs opposition and according to his wife Candice, it had been very hurtful.


Boo-hoo. It was so repugnant Warner needed some time in the sheds to compose himself before his club buddies persuaded him to return and confront the unpleasant rivals again out in the middle — blokes who were so spiteful they agreed Warner could continue his innings..

Anyone who has played cricket in the Sunburnt Land has many tales about the opposition's behaviour in the field — some of it has a humorous tinge but much is straight out abuse or sledging as they try to camouflage it.

Bowlers chip batsmen and the umpires let that run unless it gets too tasty but the greatest abuse is out of their earshot from fielders close or behind the wicket.

They talk, they move, they mutter and make noises as they try to distract a batsman and derail his concentration. That intimidation is nurtured in grade cricket and taken to higher levels as underlined by the number of international code of conduct strikes against Warner and his national captain Steve Smith.

The lengthy CA report described the decades-old pattern as "disturbing systematic arrogance".

Warner should have been given out by the umpires when he walked off the park and spent time in the sheds reflecting on the trash talk he delivered on a regular basis on playing fields across the globe. Under the laws of the game as we knew them, unless Warner retired hurt, he was out when he called time on his innings. Garbage gob was a goner.

Seven months after the chaos in Cape Town, the cricketers' union want the ball-tampering bans for Warner, Smith and Cameron Bancroft to be overturned. They want what they call natural justice and believe the bans were out of proportion compared to other cases, although an independent cultural review thinks otherwise.

A poor response from players suggests bans for the sandpaper trio were on the mark; they don't share the union's opinion, they don't want to rock the team any more and want to get on with their careers.


Bad behaviour and dodgy tactics are not restricted to the Australians but they were caught on film and under instruction from their leaders. If that cuts into the psyche, chews into their results and makes every other international side take stock of their behaviour that's great.

Getting an edge and using your skills to add to that dominance is one thing but cheating in any sport is distasteful.