An alien to land in London last week could’ve been excused for thinking David Warner had taken his Gray Nicholls Kaboom to the back of Joe Root’s head. But once ET got his brain about no balls and wides, he would have been mistaken. 

Walka-gate in Birmingham was a beat-up, not of Aussie slugger Warner on demure batsman Root, but in the media. It stands to reason that the UK scribes’ wet dream was answered by a bit of a dust-up involving a bloke who’s not in form and has been a bit controversial recently, but as an Antipodean on this side of the pond it seems fair to throw a bit of perspective in among the outrage that naughty Warner was only fined and suspended until the start of the Ashes, and not sent packing back home. 

I don’t condone Warner having a swing at Root – violence is the refuge of the brain-dead. But it really just sounds like handbags at 10 paces and like it could have been, and apparently was, sorted there and then. With injured skipper Michael Clarke, Warner fronted a press conference and copped his punishment just as Root almost copped his swinging arm, on the chin. The press conference couldn’t have been more like Jason Gann’s “apologising sportsman” Mark Wary (YouTube it, you won’t be sorry), but athletes have done far worse, apologised less genuinely and been forgiven far more easily than Warner. 

The bit that irks me most is that before the breeze from Warner’s unsuccessful blow at the Brummie Walkabout had died down, the English Cricket Board had cleared Root and his mates unequivocally and melodramatically labelled it an “unprovoked attack”: “Following a full investigation, team management has concluded that the England player was in no way responsible for nor retaliated to the attack.” Full investigation? The Walkie released a statement saying the teams were having a chat after the scuffle and Warner picked up the bill. And surely being in an Aussie-themed pub after beating them and taking the piss in a green and gold wig is a bit of a ‘come on’? Until the next ‘scandal’, enjoy the cricket. 

» Agree or disagree? Was Warner’s Root punch a bit of a beat-up?


Asia good for Oz, bad for Oceania

Spare a thought this week for the champions of Oceania, Tahiti, as they take on the best of Africa, South America, Europe and Asia in the Confederations Cup in Brazil.

Tahiti has every right to be in Brazil – they beat New Caledonia in the OFC Nations Cup final to earn their place (New Zealand had a shocker). But the impact of Australia’s decision to leave the lowly OFC and be part of Asia is rarely so evident.

Ranked 138 in the world, Tahiti plays Nigeria today in what will be their easiest game of the tournament and I shudder to think what will happen to them against the Euro and World champions Spain on Thursday or for that matter, Luis Suarez and his mates from Uruguay on Sunday.

Oceania hasn’t won a game in the three Cups since Australia became Asian in 2006. And last time, New Zealand managed the only draw (scoreless). Surely no one’s helped by minnows being embarrassed.

Photo: Getty