Warner: Abusive fans need to look in the mirror

DAVID Warner says if fans in South Africa wish to stoop to the lows of once again targeting him and his wife with vile abuse, the shame will be on them.

The Australian star labelled the personal attacks he was subjected to back in 2018 as "poor", but insists he will not be weighed down should it rear its head again in his return tour.

During the Test at Port Elizabeth two years ago, cowardly fans brought masks bearing the face of Sonny Bill Williams into the ground in a disgusting attempt to try and insult Warner over a years' old involvement his wife Candice was alleged to have had with the footballer.

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On the field, Quinton de Kock also sledged Warner about his wife, and the now South African captain yesterday admitted he has not spoken to his Australian counterpart since the ugly incident.

Warner said he is not worried about the prospect of his loved ones being dragged through the mud, but hopes he will be afforded basic levels of respect.

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"I'm not concerned about it. For me, you've got to have some form of respect," said Warner.

"It was poor. From my behalf, it's about moving forward. If people want to go to the game and carry on like that, then it's upon them.

"And they've got to look at themselves in the mirror and if they want to act like that, so be it.

"It doesn't bother me, but it shows (badly on them). They're representing their country as well. They're spectators watching a game of cricket. I'm pretty sure you don't want to be walking away here with the teams criticising the way (South Africa's) fans are acting. It's up to them."

Warner said like Steve Smith, he had some flashbacks to the trauma of Sandpapergate when he arrived back at Johannesburg and walked back through the threshold of the team hotel, where he spent an agonising week awaiting his fate from Cricket Australia.

DavidWarner had to be restrained by teammates after he engaged in a heated exchange with South African Quinton De Kock while players headed to their dressing rooms after sandpapergate.
DavidWarner had to be restrained by teammates after he engaged in a heated exchange with South African Quinton De Kock while players headed to their dressing rooms after sandpapergate.

De Kock said Thursday that he didn't feel that relations between the two teams would descend to the lows they did in 2018, although he admitted that tension between them was always bubbling just below the surface.

"If something ignites … maybe a player decides to take on another player, then maybe that fierceness from both teams will reignite again," said de Kock.

"You never know, maybe not, maybe. We'll just play the game hard."

De Kock admits he has never cleared the air with Warner after their infamous stairwell run-in in Durban, but doesn't believe they will clash again.

"No, we haven't really had any conversations. I think me and him have moved on from there anyway," he said.

"I don't think anything will happen. We'll just carry on with the way we need to go about things and won't worry too much about it."

(L-R) David Warner and Quinton de Kock are set to resume hostilities. Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images
(L-R) David Warner and Quinton de Kock are set to resume hostilities. Picture: Clive Mason/Getty Images

Warner said Twenty20s and one-dayers don't allow time for ill-feeling between teams to spill over.

Both Warner and Smith have admitted in the wake of sandpapergate that they were mentally fried for that series. But this time, the Australian opener feels refreshed.

"It makes a big difference when I look back at that. I played literally every game the whole year, I had no break at all," said Warner.

"But coming off the summer that I've had, and with the team, I feel good.

"Obviously echoing Smith's words about walking into, first, the airport, and then walking into here (the hotel), obviously the memories weren't great.

"But the last few days, every single person we've come across that's asked for a photo or that we've come into contact with or spoken to have had nothing but great words to say and welcoming us to the country and being really polite.

"It's been incredible how much support we've had from people in the public."



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