‘Copped a lot’: Scandal Warner can’t shake

South Africa v Australia: Semi Final - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023
David Warner’s time in the Australian side is winding down. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

David Warner has conceded he will never able to escape his role in the sandpaper scandal of 2018 and will bow out of international cricket at the end of the T20 World Cup happy he’s “not going to cop it anymore”.

The veteran opener was given the chance to exit the game on his own terms through the home Test summer and now in the Caribbean, where he will try and help Australia add the T20 World Cup to its ODI and World Test Championship titles.

Ahead of the opening Super Eight clash with Bangladesh in Antigua on Friday, Warner opened up on the toll the one-year playing suspension and lifetime leadership ban, his penalty after being found to be one of three central figures in the use of sandpaper in a Test in Cape Town in 2018, had taken.

He declared that he’d been “the only one that’s ever copped a lot of flak” and even suggested he discovered through the whole ordeal that “certain people are protected differently”.

Warner, Australia’s leading run scorer in T20 cricket, said he’d had to “absorb” a lot of pressure for other players but as the end neared was happy he wouldn’t have to do so any longer.

“For me it’s about moving forward. My back was always up against the wall when I came back and I knew that. I copped my fair share over my career,” Warner told CODE sports.

South Africa v Australia: Semi Final - ICC Men's Cricket World Cup India 2023
David Warner has hit out at the haters. Picture: Gareth Copley/Getty Images

“Coming back since (his 12-month ban) I’ve probably been the only one that’s ever copped a lot of flak, from whether it’s people who don’t like the Australian cricket team or don’t like me.

“I’ve always been that person who has copped it.

“OK, it’s fine if they want to do that, but I always feel like I’ve taken a lot of pressure off a lot of guys as well and I think understandably, I’ve been that person to be able to absorb that.

“But one can only absorb (so much).

“For me, it’s great to go out knowing I’m not going to cop it anymore.”

Warner will retire as an all-time great, a multiple World Cup winner having played key roles in big Test series wins at home and abroad.

Australia v South Africa - Second Test: Day 2
Warner celebrates a double century at the MCG. Picture: Darrian Traynor/Getty Images

But he said the fallout from the sandpaper scandal would follow him even in retirement, hopeful the “real cricket tragics” can appreciate his outstanding career.

“I think it’s going to be inevitable that when people talk about me in 20 or 30 years’ time, there will always be that. There will always be that sandpaper scandal,” Warner said.

“But for me, if they’re real cricket tragics and they love cricket, and my closest supporters, they will always see me as that cricketer. Someone who tried to change the game. Someone who tried to follow in the footsteps of the openers before me and tried to score runs at a great tempo and change Test cricket in a way. Be that person who went from Twenty20 cricket to play Test cricket – batting at No.6 and then opening.

“For me, hopefully I can be remembered for that, but I understand 2018, it always comes up and it’s unfortunate – but it is what it is.”

Australia needs to win the first two Super Eight matches, against Bangladesh and Afghanistan, to assure their progression to the finals ahead of a third clash with India.

The top two teams from each of two groups will qualify for the semi-finals set to be hosted in Tarouba and Guyana on June 27 before the final in Barbados on June 29.


v Bangladesh – 8.30am AWST June 21, Sir Vivian Richards Stadium, North Sound, Antigua

v Afghanistan – 8.30am AWST June 23, Arnos Vale Ground, Arnos Vale, St Vincent

v India – 10.30pm AWST June 24, Darren Sammy National Cricket Stadium, Gros Islet, St Lucia