Australian opener David Warner will return before Ashes after admitting: I struck Joe Root in the face and want to apologise
David Warner of Australia offered an unreserved apology to Joe Root of England for hitting him in the face. He has been banned by Australia until the start of the Ashes series and fined A$11,500 (£7,033) after the fracas in a late-night bar in Birmingham last weekend.
Appearing at a press conference in a London hotel, Warner said he took full responsibility for his actions and promised such behaviour would not happen again. He had already been fined last month for an expletive-riddled rant on Twitter.
"I struck Joe Root in the face and I want to put my hand up and apologise publicly to Joe," said Warner. "I am responsible for my actions, I am extremely remorseful. I've let not just my team-mates down, but Australia fans, support staff, myself and my family. I'm sincerely apologetic and I'd just like to put my hand up and apologise."
Warner, sitting alongside his captain, Michael Clarke, said repeatedly that he was sorry for what he had done. He admitted that he had had a few drinks before he walked over to Root in the Walkabout bar in the early hours of Sunday morning but he denied that he had a problem with alcohol.
He said: "Definitely not, I don't think I've got a drinking problem at all, I have just got to make the right decisions at the right time. The other night wasn't a good time to go out and have a beer. We had lost the game. And even though we had a day off the next day we had still lost. We don't have curfews but looking back I shouldn't have been in that situation."
Warner was out with other members of the Australian team after they had lost to England in the Champions Trophy by 48 runs. Root was sitting in a VIP section of the bar with team-mates Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes. As soon as Warner threw his punch, described as a glancing blow, Broad led the England players out of the establishment.
Clarke, who has yet to appear in Australia's team so far this summer because of a back injury, said they had made great strides with the culture of the team.
"We continually look at our team's leadership and the ways we can improve," he said. "We are not perfect. I think that is the main thing I have learnt over the last few days as I have been trying to get my back right.
"There's always areas we can improve. We have a young team, we don't accept these standards but you have to acknowledge along the way that there are going to be some ups and downs. As long as we can knock it on the head straight away and continue to set our standards high, they will see that in order to continue to be a part of this team there are guidelines, restrictions and expectations."
Warner will miss the rest of the Champions Trophy and Australia's warm-up games against Somerset and Worcestershire. Although he is nominally available it is difficult to see how he can be picked with no match practice, especially as his last three scores have been 0, 0 and 9.
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