David Warner has cut back on the cantankerous stuff but Australia’s new vice-captain won’t change his character.
Warner’s strides on and off the field were recognised on Friday, when Cricket Australia’s nine-person board confirmed the appointments of new captain Steve Smith and his deputy.
The NSW batsmen will lead both the Test and ODI sides, with Aaron Finch retaining the Twenty20 captaincy.
Warner has a lengthy rap sheet.
The pugnacious opener was banished for two Ashes Tests in 2013 after a bar-room stoush with Joe Root.
Earlier this year he was publicly admonished by CA boss James Sutherland after a run-in with India batsman Rohit Sharma at the MCG.
Warner had demanded Sharma “speak English” in a heated confrontation during an ODI at the MCG.
The 28-year-old noted he has kept on the straight and narrow since and vowed that would continue.
“Now with a bit more responsibility I’ll be trying to help Steve as much as I can. You’re going to see a lot more work put in on the field,” he said.
“It’s not about sledging. It’s about encouraging your bowlers and getting into the mind of the batters.
“We just have to be smart when we’re out there.”
Warner has been far more settled since meeting then marrying former ironwoman Candice Falzon and becoming a father.
However, he remains just as jaunty – more than happy to wind up teammates and opponents.
Take for example the first Ashes Test, when Warner tried to stop Ben Stokes from completing his superstitious ritual of sweeping his bat in an arc along the popping crease.
“In our team sometimes we are serious, sometimes we do joke around a lot,” he said.
“Each team needs a few characters and I see myself as being that character sometimes and I will probably try and continue to be that funny person.”
Warner is yet to speak with Sutherland, the chief executive who warned him to “stop looking for trouble” after the stand-off with Sharma.
“He’s our boss and I have to respect what he says,” Warner said.
“But the board obviously approved me being vice-captain and I thank them for their support, trust and faith.
“The past 12 to 18 months I’ve shown how much I’ve matured.”
Chairman of selectors Rod Marsh suggested Warner had come a long way as a batsman and a leader.
“David has matured and developed into an important senior figure in the Australian team,” Marsh said.
“He had valuable experience captaining the Sunrisers in the IPL earlier this year and we are confident he will provide strong support to Steve.
“We believe that he will respond well to the added responsibility of leadership.”
Smith was always going to replace outgoing skipper Michael Clarke, who will retire after the fifth Ashes Test that starts on Thursday.
The 26-year-old had already become the country’s 45th Test captain last summer, when Clarke missed three Tests due to hamstring surgery.
“He has big shoes to fill but everything about him suggests he is the right man for the job,” Marsh said.
“He should be incredibly proud.”