A frustrated David Warner on Monday said he was “not a criminal” and everyone should have the right to appeal as Cricket Australia paved the way for his lifetime leadership ban to be lifted.
The dynamic opener and former Test vice-captain was banned from any leadership role in Australia over his part in the Cape Town ball-tampering affair in 2018. But under an amendment to CA’s code of conduct confirmed on Monday, he will now be able to request a review of the sanction, a move previously not permitted.
The code of conduct changes were first raised nine months ago and Warner said it had dragged on too long.
“It’s been drawn out, it’s traumatic for me and my family and everyone else involved in it,” the Australian newspaper quoted the 36-year-old as saying in Melbourne.
“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.”
Under the new rule, a player must show that “exceptional circumstances exist to justify modifying a sanction”, including demonstrating remorse and evidence of improved behaviour. CA said the policy “acknowledges that players and player support personnel are capable of genuine reform or rehabilitation.”
“It is intended to provide the player or player support personnel with an opportunity to resume their previously held positions or responsibilities in specific circumstances,” it added.
Pat Cummins is currently Australia’s Test and ODI captain and Aaron Finch the skipper of the T20 side. A lifting of Warner’s ban would make him a prime candidate to take over the T20 captaincy should Finch step down, as he recently did from the 50-over format.
Warner would also be in the mix, alongside Steve Smith, Josh Hazlewood and Alex Carey, to deputise for Cummins or act as his vice-captain. It could also allow him to lead his Big Bash League side Sydney Thunder.
Warner was cast as the key villain in the “Sandpaper-gate” ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in 2018, having conspired with then-skipper Smith and Cameron Bancroft to alter the ball during the third Test in Cape Town.
Like Warner, Smith was banned from playing for a year but his leadership sanction only lasted two years.
Both players bounced back to reclaim their place in the national side across all three formats of the game.