David Warner and Steve Smith came out together on the field for the first time since the ball-tampering scandal in Newlands against South Africa that resulted in both of them being banned for a year.
Both Warner and Smith turned up for Randwick-Petersham and Sutherland respectively in the New South Wales Premier Cricket game at the Coogee Oval in Sydney. Shane Watson, who retired from international cricket in 2015, was also playing while Mitchell Johnson, who also retired in 2015, was present as a fan in the stands.
Warner started off aggressively but he was dismissed for 13 by Austin Waugh, the son of former Australian cricket captain Steve Waugh. England player Daniel Bell-Drummond was the star for Randwick Petershan with an aggressive century as the team ended on 267/8.
Smith fared slightly better with 48 but it was Watson who stole the show with a blazing 63 as Sutherland won the game by three wickets. The reception given to both Smith and Warner was warm and friendly and the sell-out crowd at the Coogee Oval had a memorable day.
Before the match began, there were rumours of a feud between Warner and Smith. However, speaking to the official Cricket Australia website, Warner denied such a feud took place.
“There has been a lot of media talk that we don’t get along, that I’ve thrown him under the bus. It’s good comedy for us, we enjoy it. We’re catching up with each other and texting each other. We don’t read it all but some of the fun stuff the boys throw towards us,” Warner said.
Smith and Warner were banned for a year following the ball-tampering scandal in Newlands against South Africa. Recently, an independent review by the Sydney-based Ethics Centre of the ball-tampering scandal accused Cricket Australia (CA)of having an "arrogant" and "controlling" culture that led to players cheating in pursuit of victory. It also accused the cricket board of paying lip service to the spirit of the game, leaving players without any moral guidance.
The publication of the review resulted in several top executives resigning from the board, including David Peever as chairman.