Australia opener David Warner will likely meet Cricket Australia (CA) chief Nick Hockley soon to get a clear picture about the lifetime leadership ban imposed on him in the wake of the 2018 ball-tampering scandal during the Test series in South Africa. Three Australia cricketers – the then-skipper Steve Smith, his deputy Warner and Cameron Bancroft – were banned from playing international and domestic cricket for varying periods not exceeding a year in the aftermath of the episode, which came to be known as the ‘sandpaper-gate scandal’.
The episode that happened during the Cape Town Test in 2018, not only prompted CA to ban the trio, but also barred Smith from taking up leadership role for two years, while Warner was banned from any such role for the rest of his professional life.
But since Warner has returned to the side after serving the ban, he has guided the team to victory in several campaigns, including Australia’s maiden title triumph in the ICC T20 World Cup in the UAE last year. He has also been at his best behaviour, prompting several present and former cricketers, including Test skipper Pat Cummins, to ask CA to lift the leadership ban on the veteran player.
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With the captaincy role in One-day Internationals (ODIs) now open in the Australian side, following the retirement of Aaron Finch, Warner is fancying his chances to take that role. While Test skipper Pat Cummins is considered the frontrunner for the job, Warner is ‘seemingly not out of the equation despite currently being barred from holding any official leadership role in Australian cricket’, said a report in foxsports.com.au on Tuesday.
On Tuesday, Warner was quoted as saying in the report that he felt the sandpaper-gate scandal was not the reason behind his lifetime ban from leadership role, and that there was ‘more to it’, ‘including 2017’s bitter and protracted dispute between players and CA over a new MoU’, according to the report.
“Unfortunately a lot of the events before 2018 were with the board. The MoU stuff and all that,” Warner said. “There was a lot of stuff that was… things got over and above in terms of more than the Cape Town stuff. There was more to it. I think that’s where my decision, the penalty that was handed down was more of stuff that was happening before that,” he added.
“I have spoken to Nick Hockley, we’re going to try and have a catch up. It’s very difficult at the moment… but I’m sure in the next couple of weeks we might be able to. But there’s no rush for anything,” added Warner.
Warner said he would be happy if he is considered for ODI captaincy role. “I haven’t had any conversations at all. But look I think at the end of the day any opportunity to captain would be a privilege. But, from my end, there’s a lot of water to go under the bridge, to have those conversations with Cricket Australia and my main focus is just actually playing cricket.”
(with IANS inputs)