David Warner has revealed he has no regrets about his cricket career - even the ball-tampering scandal - because it has made him the person he is today. Warner will play his 100th Test match on Boxing Day against South Africa, desperate for runs after a lean trot that has seen him fail to score a century since January 2020.
The opener is averaging just 21 since the start of the Ashes last summer, with calls growing for Australia to drop Warner or for him to bite the bullet and retire. A return to form in the Boxing Day Test would be the perfect response for Warner, who will be playing his 100th match in the longer format of the game.
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Speaking to News Corp this week about the milestone, Warner made the staggering admission that he wouldn't change anything about his controversial career. The 36-year-old was infamously suspended for 12 months and given a lifetime leadership ban in Australian cricket for his role in the ball-tampering scandal of 2018.
Warner was dubbed the 'architect' of a plan that resulted in Cameron Bancroft being caught applying sandpaper to the ball during a Test match in South Africa. Bancroft was subsequently banned nine months, while then-captain Steve Smith was also hit with a 12-month suspension.
"I don't regret anything. You make your own path, right? No one is perfect and you should never judge anyone until you're perfect," he told News Corp. "Whatever happened to me in my past, it's made me the individual I am and has probably got me to to where I am ... If I did go back and make changes I wouldn't be the person who I am."
Warner said there was a silver lining to the scandal in that it allowed him to spend more time with wife Candice and their three young daughters. He added: "There were dark times, but I enjoyed the family time. I enjoyed going back to grade cricket and playing with my mates and getting an appreciation for all the volunteers who dedicate their time to cricket because they love the sport."
Steve Smith backs David Warner to find form
Concerns are mounting about Warner's place in the Test side after he made 0 and 3 against South Africa at the Gabba. Australia will play two more Tests against the Proteas before a four-match series in India in February and March and a blockbuster showdown with England for the Ashes starting in June.
Warner also failed to reach 50 in a 2-0 series sweep of the West Indies in which a number of his teammates plundered runs. But Australia vice-captain Smith pointed to Warner's 106 from 102 balls against England at the MCG in a one-day international in November as reason why he can turn things around.
"You only have to look back a [few] weeks ago, a one-day game out here against England, he scored 100 on what was a pretty tough wicket," Smith told reporters on Wednesday. "We've seen David when his back is up against the wall, he's done pretty well.
"It doesn't matter what format of the game, Davey always plays in a pretty similar way, which has been the beauty of him in Test cricket, being able to take the game on from ball one. Sometimes it doesn't work, and he hasn't had a great deal of luck lately."
Australia's chairman of selectors George Bailey also threw his support behind Warner, pointing to the fact that batting was extremely tough at the Gabba. A staggering 34 wickets fell in less than two days on a pitch that has since been given a 'below average' rating from the ICC.
"No doubt David would be the first to say he'd like a few more runs and to be contributing a bit more knowing the importance of that role at the top of the order," Bailey said. "But full confidence that will come."
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