Warner ordered to play grade cricket
David Warner has been handed a suspended one-match ban by New South Wales and ordered to play the next three grade matches for his club Randwick Petersham after skipping their most recent fixture for a private training session and an afternoon at the races.
After meeting with the NSW chief executive Andrew Jones on Tuesday morning, Warner was informed that he had avoided the ignominy of another suspension - he was ruled out of the first two Ashes Tests earlier this year for punching the England batsman Joe Root in a Birmingham bar - but was reminded of the importance of grade competition by the instruction that he must play in the next three games, the Blues' domestic limited-overs schedule permitting.
Warner must also visit two other Sydney clubs to promote the state association's anti-drink driving sponsorship message. Following the outcome of his meeting with Jones, Warner conceded he should not have defied NSW orders to play for his club. "I believed I was doing the right thing by focusing on my training and batting, but in hindsight I should have played," Warner said. "I remain determined to score runs for NSW and Australia and am also looking forward to taking the field for Randy-Petes this round. "
Jones levied the penalty after speaking with all parties concerned, including NSW team management, Randwick Petersham officials and Warner's manager Tony Connelly. While another episode in Warner's year of misadventure, the meeting was an early test of Jones as the state's new CEO, having replaced David Gilbert.
"This has been an unfortunate episode," Jones said. "Like most cricket fans, I and all at Cricket NSW would like nothing more than to see David Warner achieve his potential on and off the field. However, in order to do this David needs to ensure that he is doing the right things and working closely with the organisation in all areas. We believe the suspended sentence demonstrates our good faith and gives David the opportunity to prove his commitment to NSW's fans and stakeholders, including the Grade clubs. We are hopeful that this is the last incident of this nature so that David and Cricket NSW can focus solely on cricket for the remainder of the season."
Irrespective of his disciplinary record, Warner's most pressing concern now is finding a way to return to strong run-making form, having recorded innings of four and a duck in the Blues' two limited overs matches so far.
Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here