Warner does not have De Kock on his mind for Wanderers T20

21 February 2020 - 13:22 By KHANYISO TSHWAKU
Australia cricketer David Warner says he's had a warm reception from SA fans so far.
Australia cricketer David Warner says he's had a warm reception from SA fans so far.
Image: Jason McCawley/Getty Images

Crossing paths with Quinton de Kock is the least of David Warner’s worries when South Africa and Australia meet in the first T20 at the Wanderers on Friday.

The two are notorious for their heated confrontation at Kingsmead in the first Test of the now infamous 2018 “Sandpapergate” Test series.

Warner, who was then vice-captain, got himself suspended along with then-captain Steven Smith for their role in the ball tampering scandal that took place in the third Test at Newlands.

It’s Smith’s and Warner’s first trip to SA since their unforgettable infractions that were seen to be a major scandal that led to an overhaul of the game in Australia.

Warner and Smith played against South Africa in the World Cup in Manchester last year where Warner made 100 in a losing cause.

That was on neutral territory, but Warner said there won’t be any hostilities on the field in SA.

“Obviously I don’t cross paths with him [De Kock]. We haven’t played in the same team and I don’t have his number, so it’s a little bit different. If I see him on the field, I guess I’ll treat him like I normally would as respectful opponents,” Warner said.

“It's limited overs cricket and it’s a short time of cricket to get under each other’s skins, and you don’t go out there to do that. They had some heated exchanges with the English players and that was during the Test matches.”

Back to the cricket. Australia come into the series on the back of a combined five home T20I wins and no results against Sri Lanka and Pakistan respectively.

However, they played the last of those matches on November 8 before switching to Test match and ODI mode.

That said, they gave India a run for their money in a recent ODI series and Warner was among the runs.

They also have a side who are pretty fresh from the Big Bash League. With Australia hosting the Men’s T20 World Cup later this year, Warner sounded an ominous warning.

“For us, it’s about moving forward and trying to get the wins to send a message to everyone that the World Cup is in our backyard and we want to be a team to be beaten,” he said.

Warner was on the receiving end of some rough treatment from South African fans for his indiscretions.

However, his recent interactions gave him an indication that he could be forgiven.

A sold-out Wanderers that’s getting it’s only T20I for the season after an England Test and PinkDay ODI could be a different kettle of fish.

“Walking into the airport and coming here, the memories weren’t great, but people we’ve come into contact with who asked for photos and autographs have been great and have welcomed us to the country. They’ve been polite and the support from the public has been incredible,” Warner said.