Sydney:David Warner issued an abject apology for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal on Saturday and said he was resigned to the prospect of never playing cricket for Australia again after his 12-month ban.
In a fourth highly emotional media conference in three days involving the Australian cricket team, the former vice-captain struggled to fight back the tears as he read a prepared statement in which he said his actions had been “inexcusable”.
“There’s a tiny ray of hope that I may one day be given the privilege of playing for my country again but I’m resigned to the fact that may not happen again,” the ashen-faced 31-year-old told reporters at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
“In the coming weeks and months I’m going to look at how this happened and who I am as a man. I will seek out advice and expertise to help me make serious changes.”
Former captain Steve Smith, who gave his own emotional media conference on Thursday, also received a year’s ban and batsman Cameron Bancroft was suspended for nine months for their part in last Saturday’s incident, which has rocked Australia.
Coach Darren Lehmann was also reduced to tears when he announced on Thursday he would be stepping down after the South Africa series because of the scandal.
Warner, who has already lost millions of dollars in contracts since the cheating was exposed, said retiring from cricket altogether was one of the options he would “weigh up” with his family.
With his wife Candice, also in tears, watching on in the auditorium, Warner said he had not been shocked by what former Australia bowler Shane Warne described as the “hysteria” surrounding the case.
“We let our countries down,” he said. “We made a bad decision. I played my part in that.
“It’s really hard to sit here (today), knowing and seeing my friends, my family, that are playing in South Africa at the moment in this fourth test, which I wish that I was a part of.”
Warner was identified by a Cricket Australia investigation as the main instigator of the plan to scuff up the ball with sandpaper during the third Test against South Africa last week.
To any questions about his role in the ball-tampering, Warner answered with an obviously pre-crafted line about taking “full responsibility for the part I played in this”.
With Smith apparently already on the road to redemption after his news conference, and Bancroft cast as the junior player led astray by his vice-captain, Warner was asked if he had been made a scapegoat for the affair.
A long pause followed as he looked up and appeared to consider his answer before he again responded with the rote line.
“As I said before,” he said. “I’m here to speak about myself and take responsibility for the part that I played in this.”
UEFA probe Ronaldo for ‘improper conduct’ over goal celebration
London : UEFA opened an investigation into Cristiano Ronaldo’s goal celebration after scoring a hat-trick in Juventus’ Champions League comeback win against Atletico Madrid last week.
European football’s governing body said Ronaldo was facing charges of “improper conduct” after he mimicked Diego Simeone’s crotch-grabbing gesture in last Tuesday’s 3-0 win that sent Juventus through 3-2 on aggregate.
After scoring the decisive penalty four minutes from time, Ronaldo turned towards the Atletico fans and replicated Simeone’s gesture after the Spaniards’ 2-0 first leg win by grasping his genitals and thrusting out his groin.
A decision will be taken by UEFA on March 21.
Juventus take on Dutch club Ajax in the Champions League quarter-finals over two legs, on April 10 in Amsterdam and April 16 in Turin.
Coach Massimiliano Allegri has said he is confident Ronaldo will not be fined or suspended.
“I think everyone celebrated their own way on the field and in the stands.
I saw nothing strange, just a celebration. There won’t be a ban,” said Allegri.
Simeone was fined 20,000 euros ($22,000) by UEFA for his gesture.
“He will have seen how I did it at the Wanda Metropolitano and, like me, was trying to show his character,” said the Argentinian coach.
Five-time Champions League winner Ronaldo is the record goal scorer in the European competition with 124 goals in 160 matches.
Sachin echoes Virat Kohli’s workload views
New Delhi: There cannot be a uniform structure for workload management during the Indian Premier League as each and every player will have different set of requirements, the legendary Sachin Tendulkar said .
There have been a lot of discussions about how the World Cup-bound players need to effectively manage their workload during a demanding tournament like the IPL, and the maestro has his own take on it.
“Preparation before the World Cup is different for each player and so their workload management will also be different,” Tendulkar said.
Tendulkar agreed with skipper Virat Kohli who recently said that it is up to the players to realise the kind of load they are taking as well as the form they are in. “To me, momentum is important. Every individual should be smart enough to assess if he needs to take a break or he needs to play games to stay in the thick of things. So the responsibility is on the individual to take a call,” said the world’s highest run-getter in Tests and One-day Internationals.
He then gave an example of how workload management will be different for different players. “As a pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah’s workload will be very different from a pure batsman like Virat Kohli and a wicket-keeper batsman like Mahendra Singh Dhoni. All these players have a lot of experience and they will certainly make the right call,” said Tendulkar, who is a mentor with IPL’s most popular franchise Mumbai Indians.
Tendulkar echoed what Kohli had said a couple of days earlier during a media interaction in Bengaluru. “If I’m able to play 10, 12 or 15 games, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the other guy can only play that many. My body might demand I play a certain number of games and I need to be smart about that and rest,” the Indian skipper had said.
“Someone else’s body might be more capable than mine or less, that is a very individual thing. And everyone wants to play the World Cup, so people will be smart about it because you don’t want to miss out on such a big event.”
Kohli had said that it is up to individual players to deal with the issue to keep their body fit and be in contention for a place in the World Cup-bound squad. “From a responsibility point of view, all the Indian players will have the responsibility during the IPL to keep a watch on their fitness and their workloads,” he said.
“And to continue the frame of mind we have created in the Indian team – strive towards excellence and improve every day. Each player will take this tournament as an opportunity to go to the World Cup in a good frame of mind,” he said.
Kerala Blasters sign Rahul KP
Mumbai : Kerala Blasters have wrapped up a deal to bring Indian Arrows forward Rahul Kannoly Praveen on board for the 2019-20 season, Goal has learnt.
The 19-year-old forward has become the fifth former India U-17 player to be roped in by Blasters after Dheeraj Singh, Mohammad Rakip, Nongdamba Naorem and Jeakson Singh.
Thrissur-born Rahul featured for Luis Norton de Matos’ Indian team in the U-17 World Cup held in India. He continued his development with AIFF’s Indian Arrows in the I-League and impressed in patches last season, scoring two goals in 17 appearances.
He has stepped up his game at Arrows this season under Floyd Pinto and contributed greatly to the team’s eighth-placed finish under the Indian head coach. He has three goals to his name this season.
Blessed with pace and dazzling feet, Rahul is good at taking on his opponent from wide areas and also has an eye for a pass. He was impressive against Gokulam Kerala and scored a terrific volley in the I-League match at Kozhikode earlier this season. He also featured in the Super Cup qualifier against Kerala Blasters as Indian Arrows won 2-0.
In what seems like a much-needed move after a disapponting season in the ISL, Kerala Blasters, under the new leadership of CEO Viren D’Silva, are off to a good start off the field and have added a promising local talent to the squad.