David Warner, Michael Clarke, sledging, Australia vs South Africa, first test, The Gabba

Former Australian captain Michael Clarke has encouraged South Africa to put friendships aside and sledge David Warner as ‘Sandpapergate’ again threatens to destabilize Australian cricket.

The Gabba series opener is the first test between Australia and South Africa since the fateful sandpaper series in 2018.

It has been a horror week for Warner after he struggled with the bat in Perth after he withdrew his application to have his leadership ban overturned and his wife was abused by the Adelaide Oval crowd.

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Clarke believes Warner can expect more verbally in the first test against South Africa and believes it is fair game as long as the players don’t cross the line.

“Their approach to any player that was involved in that ‘Sandpapergate’, they’ve got it mate,” Clarke said on Sky Sports radio’s The Big Sports Breakfast.

“It doesn’t need to cross the line, but you can make it very clear to someone like David Warner that the Australian fans are off him.”


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Michael Clarke believes David Warner can expect some sledging from the South African team.Source: Getty Images

Clarke warned Warner could face a barrage by ball and mouth, but believes the sledging South Africans can also help the Australian opener rediscover his mojo with the bat.

“I want to see Davey Warner, if they have a crack at him on the field while he’s batting, go back to being that Bulldog and give it back to them, Davey,” Clarke said.

Australia’s series against South Africa, which starts on Saturday comes a week after Warner’s wife Candice revealed she was abused by drunk fans at the Adelaide Oval, while her children were present.

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Michael Clarke believes South Africa should sledge warner, but it could backfire.Source: Getty Images

“They were weak, they were gutless and they didn’t own up to what they did,” Mrs Warner said on Triple M.

“I’m now starting to feel like it is not safe for me and my kids to attend the sport.”

Warner refused an offer from Cricket Australia for a security escort for future events, saying “she doesn’t need special security or protection”.

“I got the call [from Cricket Australia] saying, ‘Look, we don’t want you or your family feeling unsafe at the cricket,’ Mrs Warner revealed on Triple M Summer Breakfast.

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“We know how much your support means to David and the team and this is what we would like to offer.

“I just said it was unnecessary. I don’t need an escort, I’m very independent and I can stick up for myself.

“It’s more about the safety of all the players and their partners and families, and just everyone in general.

“I want everyone to go to the cricket and feel safe because it’s such a great day out, and feel they can be there without being attacked.”

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