Australian batter David Warner has hinted his strong stance in Cricket Australia’s protracted pay dispute of 2017, which fractured relationships throughout the sport, was a reason for behind his controversial leadership ban following the infamous ball-tampering saga.
The veteran opener, one of the most experienced leaders in the national men’s side, was banned from any captaincy positions after the Cape Town sandpaper incident in 2018.
But Warner has emerged as a potential candidate for the ODI captaincy after white-ball skipper Aaron Finch announced his retirement from the 50-over format over the weekend.
Watch Australia’s Tour of India LIVE. Every match Live & On-Demand. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Warner, who led Australia in three ODIs in 2016, is more than willing to talk with CA about scrapping his lifelong ban, but suggested the ball was firmly in their court.
The 35-year-old said he plans to meet with CA chief executive Nick Hockley in the coming weeks for an open discussion about his captaincy ban.
Warner was one of the leading voices during the ugly Memorandum of Understanding dispute of 2017, which created tension between himself and the CA Board — that has changed almost entirely over the past four years.
And speaking at the Kayo summer of cricket launch on Tuesday morning, Warner suggested that lingering bad blood with the CA Board was why he copped a more significant punishment than teammates Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft following the sandpaper scandal.
“Unfortunately a lot of the events before 2018 were with the board – the MOU stuff and all that,” Warner told News Corp reporters at the SCG.
“Things got over and above in terms of more than just Cape Town. 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.
“I think at the end of the day it’s about what questions do they (the CA board) want to ask me.
“That’s where the conversation starts and then we can lead from there. It’s almost a completely new board from when 2018 happened.
“I would be interested to see and hear what their thoughts are.
“I haven’t had any conversations at all (about taking over ODI captaincy). 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.”
Warner, who remains a leader in the Australian team in an unofficial capacity, expects pace bowler Pat Cummins to be offered the ODI captaincy in November.
“Obviously Pat has the Test captaincy, and he will be offered the job if he wants to take it and rightfully so,” he said.
“I think I have a lot of leadership qualities. And I know what I bring to the table as a leader, and I’ve still got that position anyway amongst the group.
“We all know each other so well, we all have a great knowledge of the game. So for us it’s about how do we use all that knowledge together and win games.
“I don’t think it’s about being given a second chance. I think it’s just about me just knuckling down and do what I’ve had to do which is playing cricket and scoring runs.
“I think that’s the main thing, coming back but still being a leader amongst my peers, leading by example on and off the field. I’ve showcased that very well.”
Last week, Finch called on CA to overturn Warner’s captaincy ban, arguing the talented left-hander had served his time.
“I think CA are revisiting what that looks like,” he told Triple M.
“He’s someone I’ve played under a few times for Australia when he’s had the opportunity to captain and he’s been fantastic.
“He’s an unbelievable tactical captain and someone who, at the time, everyone loved playing under. But I’m not sure what CA’s position is on it.
“Would I like to see it overturned? Absolutely. What he can offer not only now in that leadership space but going forward, for him to be able to coach and help the next generation of players coming through is going to be so important for Australian cricket.
“I think you do you time and he’s well and truly done that I think.”
Australian Test captain Cummins, one of the leading candidates to replace Finch as ODI skipper, has been an outspoken advocate for Warner returning to the captaincy group.
“Fundamentally, banning someone for life I disagree with,” he said earlier this year.
“He’s a fantastic leader around our squad here. If he has a formal role, he’d be fantastic with that as well. So if that ever came up, he’d be great.”