Image: Star Sports / YouTube
Australian cricketer and notorious sledger David Warner has admitted that he told Indian batsman Rohit Sharma to “speak English” when tempers flared during a One Day International at the MCG over the weekend.
Warner has defended his words, and revealed he has been fined 50 percent of his match fee for his behavior.
“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, understand that theoretically I cannot speak Hindi,” Warner has said.
“I did the polite thing and asked him to speak English, therefore he did and I can’t repeat what he said,” Warner added.
Warner also told Sky Sports Radio that he was in the wrong, but his actions don’t require an apology. “If people get on the wrong side of me, I’m not going to back down,” Warner said. “We’re always there to play hard aggressive cricket, but you know what comes with that — sometimes you are going to get fined.”
Australian coach Darren Lehmann called Warner “an aggressive character”, and has also thrown his support behind Warner’s actions despite admitting he doesn’t fully know what happened out on the pitch.
“It’s just making sure [Warner] does the right things on the ground,” Lehmann has said. “We’ll work with him with that.”
Footage of the slanging match (below), which occurred after the last ball of the 23rd over appears to show Warner mouthing the words “speak English”.
The incident may have been sparked by a fielding overthrow by Warner, which appeared to have been deflected off the bat of Rohit. Rohit and non-striker Suresh Raina picked up a run off of the overthrow, despite the common practice of batsmen not running when a throw deflects off of their bat or body.
Rohit went on to make 137 in that innings, with Raina making 52. During Australia’s innings, Raina took the catch which dismissed Warner for only 24.
The Cricket World Cup begins in Australia and New Zealand in February. Hopefully these professional athletes will be able to set any deeply embedded racial issues aside before then.
pretty sure a bunch of us just saw Warner say ‘speak english’ a couple of times to Rohit. What a fuckhead. pic.twitter.com/ORrfggrwdA
— Bec (@Brocklesnitch) January 18, 2015