Australia`s David Warner defends `speak English` sledge
Explosive Australian opener David Warner on Monday defended a heated on-field exchange with Indian batsman Rohit Sharma in which he demanded the Indian cricketer "speak English".
Sydney: Explosive Australian opener David Warner on Monday defended a heated on-field exchange with Indian batsman Rohit Sharma in which he demanded the Indian cricketer "speak English".
Warner said the verbal fireworks at a one-day international at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Sunday earned him a fine of 50 percent of his match fee from the International Cricket Council.
The Australian fielders had taken offence when the Indians went for a single off an overthrow which they wrongly believed was in breach of cricket etiquette.
"When I went over to say something to him, he sort of said something in their language and I said `speak English` because, if you`re going to say something for me to understand, theoretically I cannot speak Hindi," Warner told Sky Sports Radio.
"So I did the polite thing and asked him to speak English, therefore he did and I can`t repeat what he said."
Asked whether there was anything wrong in the manner in which he asked the question, Warner said: "I thought I was OK by asking him to speak English and I am going to say it a couple of times if he keeps saying it in Hindi."
Warner admitted he should not have confronted Sharma but said the pair had been engaging in "friendly banter" during the match, which Australia won with six balls to spare despite a century by Sharma, and he didn`t feel the need to apologise.
"No, because we were actually going at each other anyway during the game," he said.
During the summer`s Test series against India, which saw tense sledging, Warner said he would not be toning down his "banter" and he repeated that stance Monday.
"If people get on the wrong side of me, I`m not going to back down," he said."We`re always there to play hard aggressive cricket, but you know what comes with that -- that`s what happens, sometimes you are going to get fined.
"We`ve got to keep trying not to cross that line, and we`ve got to work hard at that, and that`s what we`re all about -- playing cricket the right way."
He was backed up by coach Darren Lehmann who said Australia would play "hard and fair".
"If the ICC decides we cross the line, then they`ll come down on us -- we all know that," Lehmann said.
"We`re always going to teeter pretty close to it -- that`s the way that we play -- we`ve just got to make sure that we don`t cross it."
Lehmann supported Warner`s competitive character.
"It`s just making sure he does the right thing on the ground. He knows that better than most, anyway. We`ll work with him with that."
Australia have won their first two games in the triangular one-day series against England and India and face England again in Hobart on Friday.
Australia failed to complete their overs within the allotted time on Sunday, and skipper George Bailey -- standing in for an injured Michael Clarke -- is in danger of an ICC ban.
Lehman was upbeat on Clarke`s recovery from hamstring surgery which could sideline him from next month`s World Cup, saying his progress was ahead of schedule.
"He`s had a couple of bats in the nets, which is a really good thing for us," he said.