Melbourne, July 19 ( Surprise Sports Desk) Calls are growing for Cricket Australia (CA) to lift the leadership ban on charismatic batter David Warner, with the country’s former captain Greg Chappell lending his voice to the campaign, saying why should the 35-year-old top-order player “be treated any differently”.
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 ball-tampering episode in 2018, which came to be known as ‘sandpaper-gate scandal’.
The episode that happened during the Cape Town Test in 2018, not only prompted CA to ban the trio, but also bar 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.
Speaking to Fox Sports News, Chappell, the former Australia captain, who was also India coach at one time, has said that while Warner certainly had a “central role” in the ball tampering episode in South Africa, he was not the only one.
“He obviously had a central role in what happened but he was not the only one that was involved and I don’t know why he should be treated any differently,” Chappell said in a video posted on the website.
“He’s served his punishment; he is a good leader in the side and no doubt if he had had the opportunity, I’m sure he would have captained the side quite well. I think he’s paid his penalty and it’s time to open it up for leadership roles,” added Chappell.
Warner’s wife Candice recently sounded a warning, saying her husband could be lost to the Big Bash League (BBL) for good if the ban on leadership role is not lifted soon.
BBL side Sydney Sixers coach Greg Shipperd has requested CA to allow Warner to at least lead the domestic side, given that he had diligently served his ban post the sandpaper-gate scandal and had been “making a great contribution to the team and to cricket in general across the globe”.
“I don’t like injustice so it does bother me… but it doesn’t bother him because he can go and captain in the UAE, he can go captain in India (IPL) where people appreciate his cricketing brain and what he can bring to a team,” Candice said recently.
Candice said Warner had several lucrative captaincy offers in domestic T20 tournaments across the world and he could leave BBL for better offers if he is not given justice in Australia.
— Surprise Sports Desk