WARNER-DE KOCK SPAT
Warner is now one demerit point away from a ban. © Getty
David Warner has been hit with three demerit points and fined 75 per cent of his match fee after deciding to accept the ICC’s level two charges that came from his altercation with Quinton de Kock during the first Test in Durban, but South Africa have confirmed that their player will contest his charge.
CCTV footage from a stairwell leading up to the dressing rooms at Kingsmead showed Warner continuing to verbally abuse de Kock as South Africa and Australia broke for tea on the fourth day of the first Test, which Australia went on to win by 118 runs.
Australia maintain that Warner was provoked by personal comments that de Kock made about his wife, but the Australia batsman has accepted the charges brought against him by match referee Jeff Crowe and is now one demerit point away from a ban. Level 2 breaches carry a fine of 50 to 100 per cent of the match fee and/or up to two suspension points, equating to three or four demerit points.
Because Warner admitted the offence, there was no need for a hearing and his punishment was confirmed on Wednesday (March 7) morning. He joins South Africa captain Faf du Plessis and fast bowler Kagiso Rabada among the players in the series with demerit points against their name who could be banned in the event of a further infraction.
De Kock, meanwhile, has decided to contest his level one charge after South Africa sought clarity over the accusations laid against him. He will now undergo a hearing on Wednesday evening in Port Elizabeth, where the teams are preparing for Friday’s second Test.
The heaviest penalty that de Kock could receive for a level one offence is a fine, but South Africa feel that even this would be unfair given that video footage appears to be the only evidence used by the ICC.
Warner’s level two charge, which related to “bringing the game into disrepute”, is thought to have been handed down purely on the basis of the CCTV footage, with umpires Kumar Dharmasena and S Ravi not hearing any on-field exchange between the players.
Given that de Kock did not react to Warner at all in the footage, South Africa feel he has no case to answer.
“We are appealing level one because we think Quinny didn’t do anything,” coach Ottis Gibson said on Wednesday. “Quinny wasn’t aggressive. You saw some footage and the footage showed Quinny walking up the stairs and somebody else being restrained and then Quinny gets a level one. That doesn’t seem fair.”
A verdict on the wicketkeeper-batsman will be delivered immediately after his hearing, which will take place at the team hotel.