Champions Trophy: Australia skipper George Bailey defends David Warner
Last Updated: 13/06/13 5:47am
George Bailey: 'Pretty keen' for Michael Clarke to be fit to lead Australia against Sri Lanka
Australia stand-in captain George Bailey has defended David Warner in the wake of his suspension for an unprovoked attack on England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar.
Warner was dropped for the ICC Champions Trophy match with New Zealand at Edgbaston on Wednesday following events in the early hours of Sunday morning in the wake of England's victory over their Ashes rivals.
"I thought he took it on the chin and his attitude among the group today was outstanding. No pun intended, sorry about that."
Bailey has been skippering the side in the absence of Michael Clarke, who has been struggling with a persistent back injury.
He leapt to Warner's defence and played down the incident at the post-match media conference after their game with New Zealand was washed out, with his response to reporters' questions including an accidental slip of the tongue.
"It's disappointing but from my point of view it's a minor incident and it's dealt with. It's been dealt with in-house and that's it," said Bailey.
"I thought he took it on the chin and his attitude among the group today was outstanding. No pun intended, sorry about that.
"I really enjoy playing cricket with him, I love his enthusiasm, his energy around the group and I love the way he plays.
"I wish I had the talent he has. I think he's a particularly generous teammate, very giving. I'm looking forward to playing a lot of cricket with him in the future."
Australia posted 243-8 after batting first against New Zealand but with their opponents having reached 51-2 in reply after 15 overs the rain came, forcing the match to be abandoned as a no result.
In addition to the Warner incident, Bailey has also had problems on the field to contend with.
Australia were dismissed for a paltry 65 in their final warm-up match with India before being beaten by England in their Group A opener.
Clarke is understood to be on the mend and Bailey admitted he will be glad when he returns to take over the captaincy once again.
"It's been busy. Every game is a huge honour for me and a huge learning curve and every day brings something different," he added.
"Sometimes it's challenging, sometimes it's enjoyable, sometimes it's both.
"It's a dream come true, but I'm pretty keen for Pup (Clarke) to come back - as a cricketer and as a leader.
"It'll be good for this team to have him back and from all reports he's made good progress today."
While Clarke's fitness continues to be a concern, Warner is also sweating over his Ashes place as an internal investigation continues.
Players from both sides had been in the Walkabout pub in Birmingham after England's 48-run success at Edgbaston on Saturday, when Warner is alleged to have struck Root, who is understood to have been wearing a fancy dress wig at the time.
Warner has been charged with breaking Cricket Australia's code of conduct regarding 'unbecoming behaviour' and a hearing will take place to decide on any punishment.
The 26-year-old was last month fined £3,700 for a foul-mouthed tweet exchange with two Australian journalists and CA recently banned four players - including vice-captain Shane Watson - from a Test against India for failing to complete a homework assignment.
But any hint that he may be sent home from England in disgrace was mitigated slightly by the fact he publicly warmed-up with the side at Edgbaston yesterday as well as carrying drinks to team-mates as 12th man.
The England and Wales Cricket Board issued an official statement following the Birmingham incident which read: "The ECB confirms that David Warner initiated an unprovoked physical attack on a member of the England team in a Birmingham bar following England's 48-run victory over Australia.
"Warner has admitted behaving inappropriately and has since apologised to the player involved who has accepted the apology.
"Following a full investigation the England team management has concluded that the England player was in no way responsible for nor retaliated to the attack."
Root, who sustained no injuries and trained happily with England at The Oval yesterday, also received the full backing of captain Alastair Cook, who took no issue with a small number of players celebrating their success in a bar.
"We had two days off as a team. When the schedule allows and when it's within certain parameters it's good to let your hair down," said Cook.
"We are clearly disappointed that the incident has happened, but after investigating it from our side, we don't believe we have done anything wrong.
"It was unfortunate but he (Root) wants to put it behind him."
A statement released on behalf of Walkabout suggested none of the players had been drinking excessively and that Warner, who was said to be known to staff at the venue, paid the bar tab.