David Warner attacked Cricket Australia for the “traumatising” delay in his leadership ban being overturned after the board ratified changes to the code of conduct which will free Warner to serve as international captain again.
Warner was banned from holding a leadership position by Cricket Australia in 2018 - either in domestic or international cricket - for his part in the 'sandpapergate' affair, which also led to his year suspension from the game. But Cricket Australia’s Head of Integrity have now waved through an amendment to the Code of Conduct.
The changes to its code allow players to “apply to have long-term sanctions modified” - which Warner confirmed that he intends to do, thereby making him eligible to captain once again.
The changes were first mooted in February. Warner criticised the drawn out process, saying: “[it looks like] I am campaigning, which I am not."
Warner said in Melbourne on Monday: "That’s where it’s been disappointing, it’s taken this long to get to where it has. It was brought up in I think February this year. So it’s been drawn out.
“It’s traumatic for me and my family and everyone else that was involved in it. We haven’t needed to go back into that detail, we don’t need to relive what happened. I think it’s just about being fair that at the end of the day, I’m not a criminal. You should get a right of appeal at some stage you know.
“I understand that they put a ban in place but banning someone for life I think is a bit harsh. So it’s just an opportunity to come out and actually, you know, show that I’m actually remorseful. I’ve done my time to get back into the Australian cricket setup.
“You know what, what happened happened and now we’ve done our best to move on and put our best foot forward and do the best we can for Australian cricket. So it’s been disappointing. But yeah, hopefully a decision can be made and we can just move forward.”
The change in the code of conduct could free Warner to fill in as Australia’s one-day international captain on occasion. Fast bowler Pat Cummins has been appointed ODI skipper but Australia have already indicated that he will miss matches as his workload is managed.
Josh Hazlewood stepped up as Cummins’s replacement during the second ODI against England on Saturday, and Australia have indicated that they intend to try several candidates as captain when Cummins is unavailable in the lead-up to the ODI World Cup in India next October.
Warner would also be a very strong candidate to assume a leadership role in the Big Bash, with Sydney Thunder. After months of speculation that he was angling to play in the lucrative new International League T20 in the UAE at the start of next year, Warner will instead return to the Big Bash, which he has not played in since 2014. Cricket Australia are keen to inject extra interest in the tournament, which has struggled in recent years.