Australia vice-captain David Warner said that “vile and disgusting” remarks about his wife prompted his altercation with South Africa’s Quinton de Kock.
The International Cricket Council (ICC) fined both players for the incident during the first Test in Durban.
Warner claims he was on the end of a “vile” comment about his wife Candice Falzon which left him no option but to stick up for his family.
“I cop it left, right and centre, especially off the field from spectators and I’m used to that and it doesn’t bother me,” Warner said.
“But in a proximity of my personal space and from behind me, a comment that was vile and disgusting about my wife, and in general about a lady, was quite poor, I felt.”
Warner was fined 75% of his match fee by the ICC on Wednesday and given three demerit points after video footage appeared to show him being restrained by team-mates during a row with the South Africa wicketkeeper. The row took place on a stairwell as players were returning to their dressing rooms at tea of the fourth day. De Kock was fined 25% of his match fee by the ICC, which issued him with one demerit point.
Meanwhile South Africa captain Faf du Plessis defended Quinton de Kock suggesting Australia’s opening batsman David Warner had crossed a line in his sledging of the wicketkeeper in the tempestuous first test. “If you know Quinton’s character, you know he is a very quiet guy. I struggle to get a word out of him on the field,” Du Plessis told reporters. “I know he’s a very relaxed, laid back guy. The point leading up to that would have been a lot of stuff said to Quinton, a lot of personal stuff. I thought he actually handled himself well in terms of all the stuff that was said to him. Eventually he reached a point where he said enough is enough. Any guy in the world would eventually say something back.”
Adding to the Controversy, two South African cricket officials have made a staggering gaffe off the back of the Quinton de Kock vs David Warner sledging battle, posing for a photograph with fans wearing Sonny Bill Williams masks at the second Test. Not only that – the officials have confirmed that they personally intervened to allow the fans to take the masks inside the Port Elizabeth venue, despite Australia’s initially-approved request that they be banned, Fairfax Media reports.
The masks were clearly worn to goad Warner over a highly-publicised 2007 incident involving the rugby superstar and Warner’s now-wife Candice – who was the subject of a “disgusting” slur from de Kock during the first Test that enraged the Australian vice-captain.
The Cricket South Africa executives in the photograph have been identified by Fairfax Media as Clive Eksteen, CSA’s head of commercial and marketing, and Altaaf Kazi, the organisation’s head of communications. The Australian team are aware of the photo and are outraged, with the incident threatening to turn the tour into a bitterly-divided affair.
“Cricket South Africa wishes to distance itself from the alleged action of certain officials in associating themselves with fans wearing masks representing the face of Sonny Bill Williams, which conduct is seemingly related to the Warner/De Kock incident during the opening day of the second Sunfoil Test match at St. George’s Park,” the statement said.
Whichever way this tussle goes now, it seems that Cricket is not so much a ‘Gentleman’s Game’ afterall.