De Kock has moved on from Warner altercation ahead of T20 series

By Nick Said
South Africa v England - Third T20

By Nick Said

JOHANNESBURG (Reuters) - South Africa captain Quinton de Kock says both he and Australia batsman David Warner have moved on from their altercation two years ago in a ferociously contested test series that culminated in the "Sandpapergate" scandal.

De Kock and Warner were involved in a fierce verbal exchange in which Warner had to be restrained in a stairwell as the players left the field at tea on the fourth day of the first test in Durban in March 2018.

Warner said at the time that De Kock made "a comment that was vile and disgusting and about my wife", but his role in the fracas that followed earned him a $13,500 fine and three demerit points.

It was in the next test in Cape Town that a fired-up Warner was the alleged mastermind behind a plot to alter the condition of the ball using sandpaper, for which he and captain Steve Smith were banned for a year by Cricket Australia, and Cameron Bancroft for nine months.

But as they prepare to meet again in the first of three Twenty20 Internationals in Johannesburg on Friday, De Kock says he harbours no bitterness towards Warner.

"We haven’t had any conversations, but I think both of us have moved on," he told reporters on Thursday. "We both just love to play the game really hard. I don’t think anything will happen, we will just carry on with the way we need to go about things.

"If a player on either side decides to take an opponent on, then maybe that fierceness from both teams will reignite. But will both continue to just play the game hard."

De Kock has replaced Faf du Plessis as captain across all three formats of the game, but is pleased to have the experienced batsman back in the side after the latter was rested for the T20 and One-Day International series against England this month.

"It’s great to have him back, he is excited about going forward now," De Kock said. "He understands he has a big role to play for us, is still seen as a leader among us and is one of our senior players in the team."

De Kock’s schedule has been relentless for South Africa in the last few years, but he says he is not ready for a rest.

"The captaincy has kept my energy up, in time I will get the chance to sit down, I’m sure. But for now there is a bigger picture on hand for myself," he said.

(Reporting by Nick Said, editing by Ed Osmond)