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Warner dismisses on-field altercation as ‘banter’

July 27, 2013

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Australia batsman David Warner dismissed his latest brush with trouble as “friendly banter” after an on-field altercation with a wicketkeeper in South Africa on Saturday led to the umpires intervening to calm the situation.

Warner and Thami Tsolekile had to be separated by another player and the two umpires when they confronted each other on the last day’s play of an unofficial test between Australia A and South Africa A in Pretoria. The game was stopped briefly by the umpires after South Africa A’s Vaughn van Jaarsveld pulled Tsolekile away from an angry exchange of words with Warner while the Australian was batting.

Sent from the Ashes series in England to tour with Australia A after a string of disciplinary problems, Warner later posted on Twitter: “Great to be back playing cricket, had lots of fun this week and a bit of friendly banter from the wicket keeper. Was very funny!!”

The 26-year-old Warner was fined and banned by Cricket Australia last month for hitting England batsman Joe Root in a late-night incident in a bar during the Champions Trophy and ultimately was dropped for Australia’s first two Ashes tests in England. He also had been in trouble and apologized for comments he made in an argument with reporters on Twitter. This month, he had to disassociate himself from comments his brother made on the social network site criticizing Australia teammate Shane Watson.

Since being sent away from the Australian team in England, Warner has said he needed to be dropped and accepted responsibility for the problems.

But his altercation with former South African wicketkeeper Tsolekile on Saturday overshadowed his own outstanding batting performance for Australia A, having made 193 in the first innings. The heated exchange between the pair reportedly was a result of tensions earlier in the game, when Tsolekile was unhappy with comments made toward him by the Australians when he was batting in South Africa A’s first innings. The game ended in a draw.

Australia’s selectors decided to send Warner to the A team’s tour of Zimbabwe and South Africa because his preparations for the Ashes were “not ideal,” they said, but he would be in contention for a place later in the series.

“He is in need of match practice and runs in the longer format and the Australia A games in Zimbabwe and South Africa will provide him with the best possible opportunity,” national selector John Inverarity said in a statement this month. “David remains a member of the Ashes squad and will return to England at an appropriate time once we’re happy he has had adequate preparation in match conditions.”

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