Joe Root has defended his character after Australia batsman David Warner revealed the reasons behind his fracas with the England vice-captain two years ago.
Warner hit the headlines in June 2013 after making an ‘’unprovoked physical attack’’ on Root in Birmingham’s Walkabout bar following England’s 48-run win over Australia in the Champions Trophy at Edgbaston.
Warner apologised for the incident but was subsequently suspended by Cricket Australia and missed the first two Tests of that summer’s Ashes series.
Now, in a move that could raise tensions ahead of the opening Test between England and Australia, Warner has talked in detail about that night and claimed he saw England paceman Steven Finn ‘’asleep in the gutter’’ as he left the bar.
Speaking to the Sydney Morning Herald, 28-year-old Warner recalled that ‘’little things that were going on throughout the night’’ but the incident that saw him aim a punch at Root was triggered by the actions of the Yorkshireman after taking a green and gold fancy dress wig.
Warner said: “A mate of mine was actually wearing it on top of his head like a (Lasith) Malinga wig, that’s what it was. He was wearing it on his head and (Root) decided to come in and take it off my mate’s head and start acting the way he did.
“When people are drunk that’s what they do but I thought it was a bit inappropriate the way he went about that stuff so I went over and tried to take it off him.
“I just think in today’s society you shouldn’t be fooling around with that kind of stuff. And he probably didn’t mean anything by it at all but I just thought ... actually I can’t say I thought ... I probably let my aggression and alcohol take over there and probably made an excuse for me to go over there and actually take it off him.’’
The led to Warner striking Root before being dragged away by a team-mate and returning to his hotel - and saw him miss those opening Tests.
And Root, 24, hit back at Warner’s claims by posting two Tweets in response to the comments that had circulated throughout the press on Saturday.
“Disappointing to have my character questioned - those who know me realise how ridiculous Warner’s excuse for hitting me sounds but that’s his choice to try and justify his actions. I’m just extremely excited about next week and getting back out there,” he wrote.
Warner also went on to claim he saw ‘’Steven Finn asleep in the gutter’’ and, while Warner has accepted his culpability and apologised for his actions towards Root - who was cleared of any wrong-doing by the England and Wales Cricket Board - he also feels the incident was blown out of proportion.
He added: ‘’I texted Joe the next morning and everything was fine. I think the way it’s been blown up I should have asked him to get in the ring for a rematch or something.’’
The first Ashes Test starts in Cardiff on Wednesday where Warner could come up against both Root and Finn.