David Warner’s public humiliation was necessary for him to change his ways, according to former England spinner Graeme Swann.
Warner, nicknamed Bull, was one of three Australians who bore responsibility for the ball-tampering scandal during 2018’s Test series in South Africa.
Alongside then-captain Steven Smith and Cameron Bancroft, Warner was handed a heavy sanction after being caught red-handed and initially attempting to cover it up.
It resulted in Warner and Smith famously bursting into tears upon their arrival back in Australia, before being handed year-long bans from the national side.
Both were reintroduced to the national set up for the World Cup, with Warner in particular showing significant personal maturity en-route to finishing as the second top scorer in the tournament, with 647 runs.
And Swann, who won the Ashes three times during his career, believes the shame of being caught cheating was the necessary catalyst for the Australian opener to change his ways.
The 40-year-old Betfair ambassador said: “I think David Warner has changed a lot since the sandpaper incident. During the World Cup he seemed to be keeping himself to himself.
“He scored a lot of runs so maybe he’s realised that you don’t have to be an unpleasant individual to play well, because if he does play well then he’s a huge danger for England because he’s a brilliant player.
“He has made a conscious effort to mature and surely he realises that he is a better player for it. He batted brilliantly in the World Cup.
“If he carries on doing that then good on him because it takes a lot for a bloke to admit he needs to change. Sometimes you've got to be caught out doing the deed and it has to be public and humiliating as it was.”
Warner finished the tournament with the highest individual score for an innings, a mammoth 166 against Bangladesh at Trent Bridge.
But it was the tournament hosts and favourites England who emerged triumphant in July at Lord’s, fending off New Zealand in a remarkable and exhilarating final.
And Eoin Morgan’s men made light work of Australia in the semi-final at Edgbaston to book their place in that final.
Although that should add weight to their claims to reclaim the Ashes urn this summer, Swann believes the pressure will be intense.
“I don’t think having won the Cricket World Cup will help England particularly as the expectation is so huge now,” Swann added.
“ I think Australia, because of that defeat at Edgbaston in the World Cup, come in as underdogs and they will enjoy that. They’ll be looking to smash England off their perch and I think that makes Australia very dangerous.
“The pressure in an Ashes series compared to any other series is ramped up 10-fold. The number of people on the ground when you’re warming up is insane, there’s suddenly 15 camera crews, people everywhere, barely a blade of grass to warm up on, in the press conferences the rooms are packed, you’re on every paper front page and back.
“It really is a massive deal but a brilliant one.”
For more from Swann click here.
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