David Warner accuses Cricket Australia of 'public lynching' and withdraws captaincy ban appeal

David Warner of Australia looks on during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia - Graham Denholm - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images
David Warner of Australia looks on during game three of the One Day International series between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on November 22, 2022 in Melbourne, Australia - Graham Denholm - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images

David Warner has withdrawn his bid to have his lifetime leadership ban overturned, claiming the Cricket Australia review was akin to a “public lynching”.

Warner was banned for a year from playing and from leadership for life for his part in the sandpaper scandal of 2018 which rocked Australian cricket to its core. He returned to the national team and, at 36, is in the twilight of his international career.

In recent years he has sought to have his leadership ban overturned, perhaps just to lead Sydney Thunder on occasion in the Big Bash or be Australia’s vice-captain for next year’s World Cup. Warner says he has “taken it upon myself to reform, to rehabilitate and to transform my approach to the game” following the “crushing, unprecedented, penalty that has horribly impacted me and my family”.

He has given up on that hope now, however, releasing an explosive, long statement in which he took aim at the CA for the “irregular” process which would have had a detrimental effect on his family.

'The review panel want to conduct a public trial of me'

An independent review panel was called in by CA to adjudicate the possible lifting of the ban. Despite Warner and CA’s preference for the review to be held in private, the panel wanted it to take place in public. This, Warner felt, was unfair, so he withdrew.

“Despite my opposition and that of CA, on Tuesday last week Counsel Assisting the Review Panel and the Review Panel took it upon themselves to concoct an irregular procedure (overturning presumptions and previous practice) for the determination of my application and establish a novel approach that would negatively impact the health and welfare of my family and the interests of the Australian cricket team,” read Warner’s statement.

“In his submissions, Counsel Assisting made offensive and unhelpful comments about me that had absolutely no substantive purpose under the Code of Conduct.

'The Panel has given no more than passing consideration to player welfare'

“In effect, Counsel Assisting, and, it appears, to some extent the Review Panel, want to conduct a public trial of me and what occurred during the Third Test at Newlands. They want to conduct a public spectacle to, in the Panel's words, have a ‘cleansing'. I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket's dirty laundry.”

Warner added that this would “expose me and my family to further humiliation and harm by conducting a media circus”.

“It appears that the Panel has given no more than passing consideration to issues of player welfare and the interests of Australian cricket and is instead determined to conduct a public lynching.

“Regrettably, I have no practical alternative at this point in time but to withdraw my application. I am not prepared to subject my family or my teammates to further trauma and disruption by accepting a departure from the way in which my application should be dealt with pursuant to the Code of Conduct.

“Some things are more important than cricket.”

Warner will open the batting for Australia in tomorrow’s second Test against West Indies in Adelaide.