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David Warner has not consumed alcohol since joining the Australian team after the Indian Premier League (IPL) © Getty Images

Australia‘s opening batsman David Warner elaborated on the ‘punching’ incident he was associated with in the summer of 2013, alongside England‘s Joe Root, in a chat with Sydney Morning Herald ahead of the first Test in Cardiff. He had been punished for attempting a blow on Root in a bar in a hotel in Birmingham, after Australia’s loss to England in the initial round of the then ongoing Champions Trophy. Root’s perceived purposeful ridicule, which had him wearing a green wig, enraged Warner, who conceded he ‘probably let my aggression and alcohol take over there’ in response.

Warner has had an impressive career since that period, averaging 59.03 since that period in Tests, as against his overall average of 46.82, clearly making that incident the turning point in his career. He has been away from alcohol lately, but has said it may be difficult to stay away from it in case of an Ashes series win. READ: David Warner: Sledging creates excitement among viewers

“Look, if we come out and we win the series, for the first time in three or four tours over here, it’s going to be hard not to have a beer. I’m definitely not ruling out having a beer if we win the series.”

But a couple of years ago, the beer he went to have in his team hotel in Birmingham was not memorable. “We were in the bar in the hotel, a few of us, and we all decided to go next door and have a couple of drinks. We all went out and a lot of the people from the ICC were there as well, but it was more the fact that the bar was next to the hotel. It was convenient; it wasn’t a sought-out thing. READ: David Warner marries Candice Falzon, who was wearing $25,000 worth dress during wedding

But a wig coloured green and gold was thought by Warner to be mocking South Africa’s opener Hashim Amla, who sports a longish beard.

“A mate of mine was actually wearing it on top of his head like a Malinga wig, that’s what it was. He was wearing it on his head and [Root] decided to come in and take it off my mate’s head and start acting the way he did,” he says.

“When people are drunk that’s what they do but I thought it was a bit inappropriate the way he went about that stuff so I went over and tried to take it off him. I just think in today’s society you shouldn’t be fooling around with that kind of stuff. And he probably didn’t mean anything by it at all but I just thought … actually I can’t say I thought … I probably let my aggression and alcohol take over there and probably made an excuse for me to go over there and actually take it off him.”

His punishment arrived in his removal from the Ashes squad and being asked to travel to South Africa to participate in Australia A’s tour there, before the then new Australia coach Darren Lehmann recalled him back to the team. Warner played the third, fourth and fifth Tests, and had a mediocre series, garnering one half-century in six innings.

“That’s probably the most disappointing thing from my perspective in the way I feel I was treated. Yeah, what I did was wrong and totally out of line … but I think the way I was dealt with was probably unnecessary in that I had to train by myself away from team and not be a distraction, whereas you’d think that the team would actually galvanise behind you and pull you in the right direction.”

“In that sense, I was a little bit gutted but obviously the circumstances that went on from there – the change of coach and stuff – Darren [Lehmann] was a big part in saying, ‘We’re not having one of our players train by himself, he is a part of the team’.

“I got the tap on the shoulder to say that I wasn’t being selected for the [first Test] because I wasn’t in form, which I see it as a bit of a punishment but obviously I have to take the word of selectors and they said I have to go to South Africa and score some runs. I went there and I did that. READ: David Warner turns writer for children’s books

“[In the third Test] Obviously, I open the batting and I can’t remember the last time I waited to go into bat. I think I almost waited five, six hours, and the sense of nerves kicked in, and obviously walking out for the first time since the incident was quite bizarre. I felt like I was at Main Event Boxing.”

The maturity in Warner since then has enabled him to get his personal and professional life in shape, a change that is said to have been helped by the presence of his girlfriend and now wife, Candice Falzon, who has a daughter with him, born in September last year. Warner outlined his aim of getting the best out of himself in the next few tournaments ahead of him in the next year.

“I just thought for this Ashes and leading up into the next 12 to 18 months — we’ve got five Tests here, we’ve got Tests in Bangladesh, we’ve got six at home and we’ve got two one-day series at home and away before the World T20 as well — and I’m just seeing this as an opportunity to say to myself, ‘What can I do to get the most out of my body’?”