'That's why they're behind the keyboard': Warner hits out at critics

Evin Priest
'That's why they're behind the keyboard': Warner hits out at critics

David Warner has hit out at critics who suggest he should have been banned from all forms of cricket while pouring cold water on rumours of a rift with former Test captain Steve Smith.

In Canada on Friday, Warner fronted a pack of reporters for the first time since his press conference at Sydney airport, after the ball-tampering saga in South Africa in March.

Warner accepted a 12-month ban from domestic and international cricket, was stripped of the vice-captaincy and will not be considered again for a leadership position for his role in the controversy.

Making his return to cricket at the inaugural Global T20 Canada league in Toronto, Warner was dismissed for just one but his Winnipeg Hawks secured a 46-run win over Montreal at Maple Leaf Cricket Club.

The 31-year-old batsman then opened up on the three months since "sandpaper gate" in Cape Town.

"Definitely, it has been tough. Not just for me but for my family and also the fans who support Australian cricket," Warner said.

"I'm responsible; that's my fault. I've had some tough times but I'm an adult; I'll move forward and make sure I do the right things at the right time."

Warner was portrayed as the ring leader in the ball-tampering scandal, which reached fever pitch when he removed himself from the Test team's WhatsApp group.

David Warner. Pic: Getty

But Warner rubbished suggestions he should not have been allowed to return to cricket at the fledgling league in Toronto, where he is a marquee signing.

It is believed the biggest names at the 18-day tournament are being paid up to $100,000.

"Everyone is entitled to their opinion ... if I look back at everything that has happened and the sanctions that have been handed down by the ICC, it is what it is," Warner said.

"Critics will be critics and that's why they're behind the keyboard, so we'll move forward and try to ignore that."

Warner said he had "good and numerous chats" with former Test skipper Smith, who was also banned for 12 months, and denied their relationship was frosty.

"That's just what happens, you're always going to get that impression (of a rift)," Warner said.

"But we're good mates, if you're at the (player) hotel you will see us hanging out with each other.

"We haven't been able to (have a lengthy) catch up because he's been away and Cameron (Bancroft) has been in Perth and I've been doing my thing with my family at home."

In his emotional press conference in Sydney in March, Warner conceded he may not be given another opportunity to play for Australia.

He remains unsure of his next step after Canada.

"I've got time to think over the next nine months what my future holds," Warner said.

"These 12 months are going to be a good (chance) to reflect on myself as a person, as a dad and a family man.

"I'm extremely grateful for cricket and what it has brought me; the game owes me nothing."