The Sydney Thunder will not bestow their captaincy on star recruit David Warner even if his lifetime leadership ban lifts by the time he joins the Big Bash League side this summer.
After Australia’s Test series against South Africa concludes on 8 January, Warner will end a nine-year absence from the BBL and become the tournament’s biggest signing for years.
Warner is subject to a lifetime leadership ban dating back to his involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal but Cricket Australia indicated in November it would be open to reviewing sanctions if a case was brought forward.
A former vice-captain of the national team, Warner would have been a natural replacement for last summer’s first-choice skipper Usman Khawaja, who has joined the Brisbane Heat after a decade with the Thunder.
But the BBL will come too late for Warner, even if his ban is lifted between now and January.
AAP understands the Thunder have nominated young batter Jason Sangha as their preferred captain for the BBL and that the 23-year-old will be appointed pending approval from the NSW Cricket Board.
Sangha captained the Thunder briefly last year when Khawaja was on international duty and second-choice skipper Chris Green had Covid-19.
A Thunder representative told AAP Sangha had impressed coach Trevor Bayliss in his brief stint as captain last summer and believed his time as NSW Blues vice-captain would serve as good preparation to lead the side this time around.
“If [the captaincy] does fall on my shoulders, I’d love to do it. It’s something that I’d be really thrilled to do,” Sangha told AAP.
Sangha and Warner first played together in 2018, when the latter was serving a one-year ban from international and domestic duties and re-joined his NSW Premier Cricket side Randwick-Petersham.
At the time, the teenaged Sangha was coming through the grades and beginning to make a name for himself as a batting prospect.
“He taught me so much about the game and about the art of batting,” Sangha said. “Whether you were playing first grade or fifth grade, he really made an effort to have a connection with everyone.”
Warner is set to mentor Sangha even though he won’t be considered for a formal leadership role with the team.
“T20 cricket really is very fast paced, so to have someone with a level head who knows exactly what to do in certain situations, that will go a long way,” Sangha said.
“Someone like him can not just empower me but empower a lot of our younger batters about the actual art of batting in T20 cricket and also the tactics, the game awareness, and being really smart about field plays and little things like that. He just knows so much about the game.”