David Warner didn’t get to spend too much time at the crease. Picture: Vaughn Ridley/Getty
David Warner didn’t get to spend too much time at the crease. Picture: Vaughn Ridley/Getty

Warner: ‘Steve and I are still good mates’

DAVID Warner declared on Saturday that the game "owes him nothing" as he took responsibility for the damage done to Australian cricket by the ball-tampering scandal.

Asked how his relationship was with Steve Smith - the former captain who was punished alongside Warner and Cameron Bancroft - Warner said the pair remained "good mates" and had been in regular conversation during their stay at the same hotel in Toronto.

The star batsman lasted just two balls in his much-anticipated comeback to cricket, in the Canada Global T20, but said not even that anti-climax could wipe the small off his face.

Warner took four catches - including two stunners - and made a run-out as his Winnipeg Hawks side romped to victory over the Montreal Tigers despite him being clean bowled for one by a ball that stayed low.

The road back for Warner will be long and intense, but the opening batsman said he was up for the fight.

"I'm extremely grateful for cricket and what it's brought me. The game owes me nothing," he said.

"I'm responsible … That's my fault, and it's why I've had some tough times. But I'm an adult, I'm big, strong and I'll move forward and keep continuing to move forward and making sure I'm doing the right things at the right time to keep playing the best cricket I can.

"The bubble we've been in for the last six or seven years, you need time out and I think this 12 months is going to be a good reflection upon myself as a person and character.

"As a dad, and a family man, the last 12 weeks has been tough but it's enabled me to spend a lot of time with my family and that's something I'll always cherish every day.

"To have my daughter on Face Time and say she misses me and loves me and wants to come over here and watch the cricket - I'm excited that they want to get back into it as well.

"It's those things that we miss."

The Australian camp was a divided shambles in Johannesburg in the wake of the incident, but Warner said his relationship with Smith - despite what they'd been through together - remained intact.

"People are going to get that impression. But me and Steve, we're good mates," he said.

"If people hang in the hotel they'll see us hanging out with each other and stuff. But at the end of the day it was a big thing that happened and for us you've got to handle it in your individual way and handle it collectively.

"We haven't really been able to catch up because he's been away. Cameron (Bancroft) has been in Perth and I've been doing what I've been doing, and I've got family at home.

"But this (tournament) has been good. We've caught up and we've had numerous chats, and I'm sure we'll hang out plenty more, we're in the same hotel."