‘I don’t have his number’: David Warner has no plans to clear air with Quinton de Kock

Written by Vishwas Gupta

Australia opening batsman David Warner is not planning to personally bury the hatchet with South Africa captain Quinton de Kock as the former returns to the country where he was banned for a year from the game in March 2018.

Warner was painted as the villain of the piece during the “Sandpapergate” scandal almost 2 years ago, in which he was accused of trying to alter the condition of the ball during a test match along with his captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft.

He was handed a one-year suspension by Cricket Australia, but the incident followed goading from South African fans that Warner felt crossed the line of decency.

After a bust-up in the first Test between the Australian and de Kock, some home fans wore masks of Sonny Bill Williams’s face in the next Test. It was a reference to the fact that Warner’s wife had previously been involved in a relationship with the New Zealand rugby player.

However, Warner played down suggestions of bad blood between him and the newly appointed Proteas captain.

“Obviously we’ll cross paths playing against each other. But I don’t have his number and I speak to a few of the South African guys but I’ve never played in the same team as him or anything like that,” Warner was quoted as saying by The Guardian said in Johannesburg.

“Obviously it’s a little bit different. I’m sure if I see him on the field and that, we’ll just treat each other how we normally would as respectful opponents.”

Warner and his Australia teammates are sure to be greeted by some hostile fans when the two teams meet for the T20 series-opener at the Wanderers on Friday night (Saturday morning AEDT).

But this time, the absence of Tests might lessen the probabilities of a major flare-up between the 2 hard-fighting teams. Warner also thinks the same.

“It’s one-day cricket and Twenty20 cricket. You don’t really have much time over the short period of time to get underneath each other’s skin or anything like that,” he said.

“And you don’t go out there to do that. Obviously they had some heated exchanges with the English [last month] and that was during the Test matches.

“For us, our focus is moving forward and trying to get the wins on the board and send a message to everyone that the [T20] World Cup is in our backyard and we want to be a team to be beaten.”

On his part, de Kock also said he harbours no bitterness towards Warner.

“We haven’t had any conversations, but I think both of us have moved on,” he told reporters on Thursday. “We both just love to play the game really hard. I don’t think anything will happen, we will just carry on with the way we need to go about things.

“If a player on either side decides to take an opponent on, then maybe that fierceness from both teams will reignite. But will both continue to just play the game hard.”

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Vishwas Gupta