Sydney: Explosive opener David Warner's second disciplinary hearing in three weeks has raised concerns about the culture of the Australian team heading into next month's Ashes series in England.
Warner was dropped for the Champions Trophy match against New Zealand in Birmingham on Wednesday and made to carry the drinks amid England complaints of an "unprovoked physical attack" on batsman Joe Root. Cricket Australia said Warner had been reported for breaching its code of conduct relating to "unbecoming behaviour".
The latest spat involving Warner comes barely three weeks after he was fined 5,750 USD over an expletive-ridden Twitter tirade at two Australian journalists. "Warner's altercation with an Ashes opponent comes amid serious concerns about the culture of the team, which spilled into the public realm when four players were stood down for failing to do their homework during the disastrous 4-0 series loss to India," Fairfax Media said.
"It doesn't help that Warner has endured a horrendous few months on the field, and is coming off scores of 0, 0 and 9 in the first three games of the tour." During the India tour, Shane Watson, James Pattinson, Mitchell Johnson and Usman Khawaja were all disciplined after failing to submit feedback requested by team management.
Australian newspapers drew parallels between the latest Warner embarrassment and the case of former Test cricketer Andrew Symonds, who was sent home from the ICC World Twenty20 tournament in England in June 2009 following a late-night drinking episode.
"Indeed, if the Andrew Symonds case sets any sort of precedent, Warner's international career could even be in jeopardy," The Australian said. "His (Symonds') CA contract was reviewed and later cancelled. Symonds admittedly had 'form' but so, too, it appears, does Warner. It is understood Warner last year was placed on a curfew and made to report to team officials.
"Based on the decision to suspend four players for not completing their homework on time on the recent tour of India, a ruling to send him (Warner) home would hardly be an overreaction in these circumstances." Media gave prominence to the views of former England captain Michael Vaughan, who said the incident had "tarnished" Australian cricket.
"Unfortunately David Warner has tarnished the whole Australia cricket team," Vaughan told BBC Sport on Wednesday. "People are talking about him but the whole network, structure, captain, management, supporters, are all tarred with the same brush because of what one individual has done to the team."
The opening Ashes Test starts in Nottingham on July 10 and the Sydney Daily Telegraph said Australia desperately need Warner to perform, but cast doubt on whether he was up to the job. "That is simply not going to happen if he continues to hold his country, the game and his teammates in such low regard," it said. "At his best Warner is the most watchable player in the country. Right now he is a liability."