David Warner is not a man that naturally inspires warmth.
The 1.7-metre Australian opener was a testosterone shower of aggression and abrasiveness with an ego in the ‘Instagrammer influencer’ range.
It all led to his instruction to Cameron Bancroft to go at a cricket ball with sandpaper in Cape Town and the rest, as they say, is misery.
If Warner had a talent outside of cricket it was galvanising an audience’s antipathy to its national team, something which made a nation’s hair-trigger sense of grievance at ‘sandpapergate’ as deep as the Mariana Trench.
The boorish Warner was the uncomplicated rogue of the piece with our opinions towards Steve Smith and Bancroft a little more multifarious.
As well as banning Warner from all international and domestic cricket for a year, Cricket Australia permanently ruled a line through any future leadership positions for the former vice-captain.
The opposition to this decision was within the decimal margin of error of nobody. And after a media conference that featured a remorseful man in full pre-weep having a hard time coming to grips with his own treachery, no one was calling for a string quartet to provide a soundtrack.
Since that day, however, Warner has barely put a foot wrong outside the heavily booted one as part of his blue-collar fantasy day-camp pic opportunity a few weeks later on the site of his $4 million, 900-square-metre Maroubra property.
Warner’s silence (which could be read as penance) has recently been thrown into relief by Smith and Bancroft’s unedifying national apology tour (reprise), brought to you by Vodafone and Fox Cricket.
There may be a number of reasons for this.
One is that at 32, the father of soon-to-be-three Warner may simply be maturing, having reached that point in life where you stop looking ahead at who you might become, but start looking backward and considering how you became the person you are.
Cricketers are, after all, human (with the exception of Advanced Hair Studio ambassador Shane Warne, who may be 30 per cent Botox).
Like someone wary after a bad accident, Warner – a man who once took to risk like an Irish poet to rhyme – may have found his desire to be bold weighed down by caution and duty.
The evil that men do lives after them, wrote Shakespeare for Mark Antony, and this will be true of Warner.
But a matured, dignified response to his ban, which includes giving back to the game – his wife Candice spoke of her husband’s love of playing club cricket for Randwick – may go some way to buffing the corrosive edges off a difficult legacy.
Another more cynical reason is that there is no second act, just a three-ringed circus.
Unlike his time at the crease, Warner may merely be playing the long game and waiting for an opportune time for a tell-all that is more revealing, acerbic and lucrative than the made-for-TV, carefully warmed-over efforts of his former teammates (Smith’s so-called ‘fresh insights’ of the dressing room dressing down by James Sutherland and Pat Howard was detailed in Gideon Haigh’s Crossing the Line published two months earlier).
Remember, this is the man whose trademark celebration of a century was used by Cricket Australia and the Nine Network to promote Toyota.
“Gutsy is calling” would have nothing on the one-hour prime-time “Oh what a feelings” of David Warner.
Warner’s career may be destined to end the way it began. With a kaboom!
Craig Little has spent 20 years in advertising, PR and public affairs and is well versed in the dark arts of the media. He can sometimes be heard on Melbourne’s ABC 774 and was a member of The Spin team that once explored the murky side of politics and the media on radio station Triple R.