Warner’s changeroom truth revealed

When David Warner broke down in tears at an emotional press conference in Sydney after returning home from South Africa following the ball tampering scandal, few had much sympathy for him because there were still so many questions left unanswered.

Warner wasn’t willing to divulge specifics about what happened on that fateful day in Cape Town and chose his words carefully as he rarely strayed from the themes of taking responsibility for his actions and wanting to earn back respect.

The opening batsman vowed to win back the respect of cricket fans and the Australian public, and while there’s still a long road ahead towards redemption on that front, those closest to him have been prepared to offer forgiveness.

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In the aftermath of the cheating controversy there were various media reports suggesting Warner was an outcast among teammates and relationships with them were broken. How he fit back in with the same players tarnished by his actions was always going to be a bigger talking point than his on-field returns.

Four official one-day games into his international comeback and Warner’s already shown his worth with the bat but he didn’t need bulk runs to prove himself to the rest of Australia’s 15-man World Cup squad.

Speaking after Warner’s matchwinning 107 against Pakistan in Taunton earlier in the week, coach Justin Langer said the 32-year-old didn’t need to earn anyone’s respect in the dressing room. He’d already done that by working his backside off and coming through the other side of his 12 months in exile.

David Warner is back to his blistering best.Source:Getty Images

"No,” Langer said when asked if Warner needed to win back the respect of his teammates.

“Honestly, when you pay the price that he has paid for 12 months, and see him come back with a smile on his face and super fit, he didn't have to earn back any respect.

“Everyone knew what he has been through the last 12 months. They also know what a great player he is. He has always had the respect as a player.

“He is a really good young bloke and he has come back with a smile on his face, he is fit, he had respect as soon as he came in."

It was a view shared by Aussie star Pat Cummins. The fast bowler was in the sheds at Taunton when Warner launched into an emotional celebration upon reaching his hundred against Pakistan — his first for Australia since the 2017 Boxing Day Test against England — and said everyone in the inner sanctum was thrilled.

“We were so pumped for him. Obviously it’s been a massive 14, 15 months for him,” Cummins said.

“To get back in, he was really open and honest after The Oval game (a loss to India where Warmer scored 56 off 84 balls). He said he was playing a bit more timid than he normally is, just his mindset, he’s got to get that back and you saw straight away (against Pakistan) he was on so we were all so pumped for him.”

Cummins hasn’t noticed a massive change in Warner as a person or as a cricketer since he’s rejoined the Aussie set-up in the UK after his prolonged absence. Asked if there had been any friction surrounding Warner’s return among the playing group, Cummins said: “No difficulties at all, he’s been brilliant.”

There was plenty of emotion as Warner celebrated his first century for Australia since 2017.Source:AP

That brilliance has shone through with the willow. With two fifties and one century from four innings, Warner is the third-leading runscorer in the World Cup and he saved his best for when conditions should have made batting its most difficult.

On a green wicket under cloudy skies facing an in-form Mohammad Amir in Taunton, the opener played the seaming new ball superbly and scored at his best clip of the tournament, skipping to 107 off 111 deliveries.

Warner struggled for rhythm as he posted half centuries against Afghanistan and India but he was at his fluent best against Pakistan and Langer said reaching his first ton in Aussie colours since his return meant an awful lot to him and the rest of the team.

"I have been really pleased with the way he has gone through the whole series,” Langer said. “He has done an unbelievable job for the team in all games we have played so far.

“I have been pleased with the way he has gone the whole way and it was great to see him get his hundred. You saw how emotional he was and how much it meant to him. It meant a lot to all of us as well.

"You can see in his eyes how determined he is to be back playing for Australia. When you score a hundred, it is almost like there is no better feeling in the world.

“That's a nice feeling I am sure for him and it's a nice feeling for us that you can score some runs in the game of cricket.

“Hundreds — they are the milestone, they are the reward. In a lot of ways, that's a really great reward for him."

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