Suspended batsman David Warner says he is “one hundred per cent” confident he can return to the Australian team after playing his first match at home since the ball tampering scandal.
His Australian comeback was for the City Cyclones in a one-day match at the Marrara Cricket Ground in Darwin’s Strike League.
He made an entertaining 36 runs off 32 balls on Saturday, including one six and five boundaries – three in an over – before he was caught and bowled.
Warner struggled through a run of failures before returning to form late in his recent return in a T20 tournament in Canada and admitted enjoying being back on a home pitch.
It is four months since teammate Cameron Bancroft – who is also playing in Darwin – was caught ball tampering in South Africa.
Warner and Steve Smith received one-year bans and Bancroft nine months.
Warner said he felt extremely confident about being selected again for Australia, including Tests and the 2019 World Cup, if he scored runs at lower levels before and after his ban ends in March.
“I’ll be putting my hand up as much as I can,” he told reporters after his innings.
This is just a little stepping stone to keep continuing my progress, to putting my hand up.
“I just have to keep scoring as many runs as I can for every single team that I play for in the next eight months.”
A Cricket Australia investigation found the ball tampering using sandpaper was Warner’s idea and he has copped more of the public’s wrath than Smith and Bancroft.
Warner said he accepted that cricket’s image and aspiration to be the nation’s top sport were tarnished by the scandal.
But the strong criticism of him was just “people’s opinions”.
“I just try and shut that all out, I don’t listen to any negativity, I try and move forward. I am a positive person,” he said.
“I have had a couple of misdemeanours in the past but I have grown from all that.”
On Sunday Warner will play in a one-day game against Bancroft, who made 66 on Saturday.
Warner said the two were great mates who had enjoyed each other’s company in Darwin this week and he was looking forward to “some banter” on the field.