Emotional Warner breaks silence on suspension
DAVID Warner has broken his silence on his return to international cricket, speaking publicly for the first time since he wept at a press conference on his return to Sydney after the ball tampering scandal.
While Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft gave TV interviews during their suspension, Warner has stayed out of the limelight as he served his 12-month ban for the Cape Town controversy.
Speaking to reporters after being named man of the match for his 107 against Pakistan in the World Cup in Taunton, the opening batsman said it was a special feeling to reach three figures for the first time since returning to the national team - and the first time since his ton against England in the 2017 Boxing Day Test.
Warner said his desire to wear Australian colours again never waned during his time in cricket limbo and paid tribute to his wife Candice and their children for keeping him going during his suspension.
WARNER: CANDICE IS 'MY ROCK'
He'll see Candice and his daughters on Thursday (UK time) for the first time since arriving in England as the players' families join the tour.
"I was always coming back to international cricket if selected," Warner said. "The thing that kept me going was my wife and my kids. Got great support at home, my family.
"And my wife is just, she's just my rock. She's unbelievable. She's determined, disciplined, selfless.
"And I hold a lot of credit to her. She's a strong woman. And she got me out of bed a lot in those first sort of 12 weeks, and got me back running and training as hard as I could, and prepared for the other formats of the game I was playing and I did play.
"I'm looking forward to seeing the kids and the wife. Obviously we're fortunate enough to have our families away with us which is great and obviously we're going to be here for a while in the UK. So, look, I'm excited that they're over here."
Candice posted a photograph of her husband celebrating his century on Instagram with the caption: "The smile says it all. What a way to bring up your 15th ODI century. Proud is an understatement!! Well done my love. This is just the start."
WARNER WORRIED HE'D NEVER PLAY AGAIN
Warner top scored for the Aussies in their 41-run win over Pakistan as he powered the side to a total of 307. He'd scored two half centuries in the opening three games of the World Cup and leapt into the air and pointed to his teammates in the dressing upon reaching his ton.
"For myself it was obviously getting back to the normal routine of training, high intensity," Warner said when asked about the emotion leading up to and including his Australian comeback.
"Our fitness levels have to be spot on when you're in this Australian cricket team. And I felt like I did a lot of hard work in my time off to get right. And, look, it was just great to be back and part of the team."
Warner said he had doubts about whether he would even be selected for Australia again but the hunger to score centuries for his country drove him towards staying fit and performing to high standards as he played in T20 leagues around the world and club cricket in Sydney.
The 32-year-old revealed playing at grade level for Randwick-Petersham was "really, really hard work" on the field and believes the dark times he endured in the wilderness only made him more determined to represent Australia again.
"Yeah, definitely," Warner said when asked if he was worried he might not get another chance with Australia. "There was always that going through my mind. And I think that's what drove me to keep being as fit as I can, keep scoring as many runs as I can in the Twenty20 tournaments that I was playing in.
"And I think going through those tough times and sort of regrouping with myself to put myself in the best position to come back to international cricket, I did everything I could. I really, really knuckled down and trained my backside off.
"And I'm just grateful for this opportunity and as I said before, I'm just really looking forward to what's coming ahead of us here in the World Cup. Pumped to be back, and the boys are on fire here.
"We've got a great sort of group harmony, a lot of smiles on the faces as you can see in a lot of the training sessions and out in the field. So, look, I'm pumped."
Warner couldn't shed much light on how the team environment had changed during his enforced absence, saying the ODI outfit has always been relatively stable and he'd have to wait until he puts the baggy green on again to make a call on what's different about the Test side that's undergone a cultural revolution under coach Justin Langer and captain Tim Paine.