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Warner says his punch on Root was "a lot less than what we've seen on Stokes footage"


David Warner is among many Australians watching the Ben Stokes saga unfold with interest, having been severely punished by his employers following an altercation some four years ago.

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Warner took a swing at Joe Root, now England’s captain, during a Birmingham bar-room scrap that overshadowed Australia’s lead-up to the 2013 Ashes.

Cricket Australia told Warner, now vice-captain, he was on his last chance. The opener was dispatched to Africa for an Australia A series then effectively banned for two Tests.

England allrounder Stokes faces the prospect of far more serious consequences for his involvement in a brawl outside a Bristol nightclub that left a man in hospital with facial injuries.

Police continue to probe the incident, having this week reiterated calls for key witnesses to come forward.

“I did do my time. It was a lot less than what we’ve seen on that footage, that’s for sure,” Warner told reporters.

“Does Cricket Australia regret that or not? I don’t know. I just copped it on the chin and moved forward.

“It’s up to them (England’s cricket board) what they want to do, how they punish him… first of all it’s up to the police obviously with their investigation.

“Everyone in the world is waiting to see what happens there and what the outcome is.”

England’s Ben Stokes. Photo: Kirsty Wigglesworth / AP

Warner echoed the sentiments of skipper Steve Smith, who recently suggested Stokes is one of the best players in the world.

“To bowl 140-plus km/h and bat in the middle order, score runs, it makes him an exceptional talent,” Warner said.

“If he’s able to tour, we’re going to assess what our plans are against him.

“If he doesn’t come… we have to respect whoever they choose.”

Warner says his own docile days are over, with the vice-captain wanting his team to deliver noise and nastiness during the Ashes.

He was a serial sledger early in his international career but has become a far-more silent statesman in latter years.

The hard-hitting opener has rarely been cautioned by umpires since his most-recent fine, resulting from a heated exchange with India’s Rohit Sharma during a 2015 ODI.

But Warner recently called on his side to find their inner “hatred” of England during the five-Test series that starts on November 23 in Brisbane.

The 30-year-old, who memorably accused England of having “scared eyes” during the 2013-14 series, outlined on Tuesday how he wanted to make life uncomfortable for the tourists.

“That’s something that has sort of fallen out from our game, with bowlers not being able to stare at batters,” Warner said, bemoaning how sanitised the sport had become.

“I love it as a batsman (if a bowler) gives me a little bit of an earful or something, then it gets you going. It’s exciting – people want to see that.

“Hopefully, there is a bit of banter when we’re out there… we copped a little bit of banter when we were in India. That was exciting – I liked it.

“We just have to be cautious because, sometimes, the ICC and umpires take action over little things… every time I open my mouth, I get a point deducted or I get a fine of some sort, whether I’ve overstepped the line or not.”

The International Cricket Council has cracked down on misbehaviour in recent years, while introducing a points system, although Australia’s Test tour of India earlier this year was marred by a series of send-offs and stoushes.

“I would like to see it like a bit of State of Origin. Let things just flow on and you deal with everything afterwards,” Warner quipped at a promotional event for Asics.

“Let a couple of penalties go.”

Warner noted every player needed to be “very, very subtle” because of stump microphones, highlighting Michael Clarke’s infamous sledge from four years ago.

Clarke called on England paceman Jimmy Anderson to “get ready for a broken f***ing arm” at the Gabba during the first chapter of Australia’s 5-0 series win.

“People turn around and go ‘whoa, I wouldn’t have expected that to happen on a cricket field’ but that’s the aggression that happens,” Warner said.

“When it comes to the Ashes, it’s a massive thing for us.”

But former England opener Marcus Trescothick branded Warner’s comments “pathetic”, opining that the vice-captain risks distracting Australia if he is outspoken this summer.

The comments have been widely derided in England, with 2005 Ashes winner Trescothick far from impressed.

“It’s pathetic,” he told the BBC.

“To come out with those sort of comments is not needed.

“There’s always the hype that comes around before the Ashes, so I don’t think it’s something the (English) players will be drawn into.


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