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David Warner on sandpaper ‘flak’ – ‘It’s good to go out knowing I won’t copy you again’

Cricket Australia’s review of events in March 2018 painted Warner as the mastermind behind Sandpapergate, a scandal that cast a shadow over Australian cricket and led to major changes within the culture and leadership of the national team.

Cameron Bancroft received a nine-month ban for sandpapering football in Cape Town, while Warner and Steven Smith were suspended for a year each and the former was stripped of his captaincy.

But Warner was left to feel the long-lasting effects of the scandal; the opening batsmen were denied an official leadership role in Australian cricket, the only permanent sanction in the incident.

As Australia prepares to enter the Super Eight stage of the T20 World Cup, the end of Warner’s international career is near; The 37-year-old will retire from T20I cricket at the end of the tournament after sitting out Tests and ODIs last summer.

Warner reflected on his cricket journey ahead of Australia’s game against Bangladesh on Thursday (Friday AEST), saying he was left alone after the Newlands saga.

“Coming back from 2018 maybe … I’m the only one who has caught a bunch,” Warner said. News Corp again in Antigua. “Whether people don’t like the Australian cricket team or they don’t like me, I’ve always been a copycat.

“It’s good if they want to do that, but I always feel that I’ve taken a lot of pressure off a lot of guys and I think I’ve obviously been the person to be able to accept that. But one can only take [so much]. For me, it’s good to go out knowing that I won’t hold back.”

Warner has no idea that his name will always be associated with this scandal. But the opener hopes that’s not the only thing he will be remembered for, as he looks to end 15 years on the world stage as the reigning T20I World Cup, ODI World Cup and Test world champions.

“I think it will be inevitable that when people talk about me in 20 or 30 years, there will always be that paper thief,” he said. “But for me, if they are real cricketers and they love cricket, (and) my close fans, they will always see me as that cricketer – the person who tried to change the game.

“Someone who tried to follow in the footsteps of the openers before me and try to score runs at a high pace and change Test cricket in a way.”

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