Candice says Warner sledge was ‘abuse’
THE wife of exiled batsman David Warner has hit out after her husband was sledged over the death of cricketer Phil Hughes, saying the incident was more like "abuse".
Warner walked off the field mid-innings yesterday after being sledged.
It is understood the team believes the comments sledging Warner - which included calling him "a disgrace" and "weak" - came from Hughes's brother Jason, who was fielding during a Sydney grade cricket match.
One witness claimed they heard a direct reference to Phil Hughes's death in 2014. But it is understood Warner may not have heard the exact words of the sledge. Hughes last night declined to comment.
Candice Warner this morning said the sledging was more like "abuse".
"There is a difference between sledging and abuse. I won't get into what was said but yesterday went too far," she told Channel 9's Wide World of Sport.
"I personally would put it in that category (abusive).
"It's a shame this has taken from his great knock yesterday, he's really enjoying his cricket. It's a shame we're talking about this not his century.
"David is passionate, he is an aggressive player that's why he is one of the best in his position. David will have to be careful when he comes back but wont change his style of playing."
Friends of Warner said there was a vibe of hatred towards him during the match and Warner was distressed at being verbally attacked. He left the field to defuse the situation.
Although the exchange was not heated, Warner was "considerably hurt" and left the field, telling the umpires he was "removing himself from the game".
Play halted for three minutes as Warner stayed in the dressing room, being consoled by Randwick-Petersham first-grade manager Bill Anderson.
Anderson said Warner, who was 35 not out while batting for Randwick-Petersham against Western Suburbs, was visibly distressed by the incident.
"He was flat and down," Anderson said. "He was very disappointed and hurt that something had been said to him that he took great offence at.
"He felt what had been said was very offensive to him but he realised that he had to play. He turned around and back out he went.
"He wasn't teary. But you could tell he had been quite affected by that," Anderson said. "It wasn't a heated exchange. It was something said in close range."
Warner was fielding on November 25, 2014, when Phil Hughes was struck by a bouncer bowled by Sean Abbott during a Sheffield Shield match at the SCG. Hughes, 25, from Macksville, later died from his injuries.
At the inquest that followed, Warner said he heard no sledging during the match.
The NSW coroner didn't make a formal recommendation regarding sledging but pondered "why such a beautiful game would need such an ugly underside".
Anderson said Warner, the former Australian vice-captain, had not confided to him about what had left him so rattled.
Warner was allowed to return to the field by the umpires despite the general rule being once you walk off you can't return.
"I said to him, 'mate, it's a game of cricket and complete your innings and play the game and let the umpires do their job,' " Anderson said.
"As far as the umpires were concerned it finished there.
"The umpires had no problems with him resuming."
The only sledging Warner received after walking off was from someone in the 50-strong crowd who told him to "hurry up - it's just grade cricket".
Warner's return was emphatic, celebrating a century on his 32nd birthday.
Warner and ex-Australian skipper Steve Smith are serving a 12-month suspension from first-class cricket over ball-tampering in South Africa in March.