Some time ago Yates opined that David Warner was something of a thug. The events at the Walkabout Bar on Birmingham’s Broad Street have gone a long way to confirming that opinion. This has presented Cricket Australia with a problem and their response to it has been inadequate.
Mickey Arthur and Michael Clarke were rightly pilloried over the Homeworkgate issue. Throughout that, both men insisted that there were standards to be maintained when representing your country and that there were consequences for falling short. Suspension from a test match was the punishment for not doing your homework.
So when David Warner swung a punch at Joe Root without any prior provocation one would have expected the punishment for falling short of standards to be somewhat more. Yates has already said that by acting the way they did, Arthur and Clarke have made their own bed and a rod for their backs when they foul up.
Had Yates done the same thing to a member of the public in said bar, he would have been arrested and spent a few hours in the company of West Midlands Police, probably at Steelhouse Lane nick.
In this case, involvement of the law seems to have been avoided. Warner was dropped from the team for the next ODI pending the disciplinary hearing but was allowed to act as 12th Man. The disciplinary panel decided to fine and drop Warner for any remaining Champions Trophy games and the Ashes warm up games.
How can this be seen as consistent given the Homeworkgate punishments? The fine will have very little impact on Warner given his contract and endorsements. Warner may or may not play in the first Ashes test, but to indicate that he has a chance of so doing is wrong. This was an unprovoked attack by someone seen (not by Yates) as a future leader of his country on someone making his way in the game.
Or put more simply, an attempt by a thug to bully a younger player.
And the punishment handed out is this inadequate gesture politics? Cricket Australia has serious problems. It remains to be seen if they try and blame Pat Howard for this one, but good governance requires consistency in decision making and adherence to standards.
Mickey Arthur, Michael Clarke and Cricket Australia have failed their first post-Homeworkgate test.
You can bet the Barmy Army will have a field day with this. At least George Bailey had the class to make a small joke about it, and Yates raises his glass to Bailey for that. It could be a very long summer. And Yates hasn’t even mentioned Mitchell Johnson’s barnet!