Champion Aussie cricket player David Warner could be lost to the BBL if the ‘unjust’ leadership ban imposed on him for his role in Sandpapergate is not removed, his fuming wife Candice Warner has said.
When Cameron Bancroft was busted after following Warner’s instructions to scuff the ball with sandpaper in Cape Town in South Africa in 2018, it sent shockwaves through the sport.
Warner and then-captain Steve Smith were suspended for one year, and Bancroft was banned for nine months. In addition, Warner was stripped of his leadership role for life, and Smith for two years.
Warner arrives with his wife Candice and their children at Sydney International Airport (top) and Warner faces the music after Sandpapergate in South Africa
Speaking on Triple M’s Dead Set Legends with Dan, Richard & Candice, Warner discussed the issue because Channel Seven is commencing legal proceedings regarding the $450 million broadcast rights deal with Cricket Australia.
At the heart of the proceedings is the fact that Channel Seven believes it is not getting value for money with the domestic BBL.
It has raised the issue of the quality of the tournament and there have been renewed calls for Australia’s Test players to be available for the 20-over format.
As it currently stands, Warner would be banned from any leadership role in the BBL which means he is unlikely to take part.
Warner and wife Candice arrive ahead of the 2020 Cricket Australia Awards in 2020
‘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 where people appreciate his cricketing brain and what he can bring to a team,’ Candice said.
Warner’s wife added he had numerous opportunities to take up high-paid captaincy roles in other domestic T20 competitions – roles they had heavily considered as a family.
‘My job wasn’t to question my husband, it was about supporting David at that time,’ Candice said.
‘For me, it was about being his strength as much as I could be. I didn’t think too much about anything. There were definitely times where as a family it was like, what’s next?
‘But you take each day as it comes and there were plenty of opportunities for David to play in Canada and in the Caribbean. There are definitely times when as an athlete you go, “OK, well, I could go sit there and get really upset or I set goals moving forward”.’
Matthew Wade and Warner celebrate victory in the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup final match between New Zealand and Australia
Candice pointed to Warner’s performance records and role as former captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier league as proof he could make a big difference in the BBL.
‘David has an incredible T20 record in India, in Australia, he’s one of our best ever,’ Candice said.
‘Regardless of whether the ban is lifted of not, if he plays Big Bash, it’s a decision we talk about what’s best for the family in this period,
‘Also there’s another league going on in the UAE, which financially (has) much bigger money. It’s not just a matter of lifting Dave’s ban, it’s a matter of what’s best for our family. And Dave’s just accepted he has this ban now.’
Last week, Australian Test skipper Pat Cummins said he would be open to the leadership ban being lifted.
‘[Warner] is a fantastic leader around our squad here,’ Cummins said.
‘If he has a formal role, he’d be fantastic with that as well. So if that ever came up, he’d be great.’
BBL chief Alistair Dobson told News Corp that Warner would be a major asset in the domestic competition if the issue could be resolved and he could play without restrictions on his role in a team.
‘I know we’d love to have Dave in the BBL and if there are other things that need to happen to make that possible, that’s for others to resolve,’ he said.
‘David has been such a champion of Australian cricket and he’s a player that we’d love to have in the BBL. If there’s a way that David could find his way onto a BBL list, I think it would be huge.’
Warner celebrates a ton while playing for Sunrisers Hyderabad in the Indian Premier League
Australian Cricketers Association boss Todd Greenberg recently said the leadership ban on Warner was ‘counter-productive’.
‘David is one of the very best. He would provide the BBL with a massive shot in the arm and attract people to the game – be it through the turnstiles or in front of their television.
‘Not only that, but he now has so much more to offer, having demonstrated his value as a leader by captaining teams in overseas leagues.
‘We’d all love to see David back, but his leadership ban is an impediment to that. We now have a situation where four years on, the ban is counter-productive – it denies Australian cricket the opportunity to benefit from David’s experience, which includes the hard lessons learned along the way.’