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Comment

Good on David Warner for telling Cricket Australia where to get off

The Australian board is operating from a position where all it is looking to do is protect itself

Ian Chappell
Ian Chappell
10-Dec-2022
Young cricketers should be thankful Warner has exposed CA's tendencies for back-side protecting, and they should remember it  •  Getty Images

Young cricketers should be thankful Warner has exposed CA's tendencies for back-side protecting, and they should remember it  •  Getty Images

I couldn't be happier that David Warner told Cricket Australia the equivalent of "go and get stuffed" when he went public about his decision to withdraw his request for a review of his captaincy ban.
This indicated Warner - who had been advised by CA against a public outburst - didn't trust the authorities to be mindful of his interests. It was a wise decision by Warner as CA is renowned for only protecting their own interests, not those of players.
I doubt Warner was expecting to gain a leadership position in the Australia set-up even with a successful review of the ban he received after the ball-tampering debacle in South Africa in 2018. He's too old to be considered for a captaincy position in the Australian regime despite the fact that he has always had great leadership instincts.
However, I think Warner had hoped he might be able to lead his BBL team, Sydney Thunder, at some point. A pity because he would have been the ideal person to guide younger players on their cricketing path. Not to worry CA, because he'll still be a leader and be listened to by any cricketer who wants to get ahead.
Young players should be thankful Warner has exposed CA's tendencies for back-side protecting. They need to keep it in mind for the future. Most importantly, though, Warner's withdrawal of his review highlights how appalling the original decision to award him a lifetime leadership ban was.
Warner and Steve Smith should have received the same leadership punishment after the Cape Town incident. Cheating is indefensible but so also is Smith as Australia captain saying "I don't want to know" when he walked past Warner and Cameron Bancroft, who were deep in discussion in the dressing room before the went ahead with the plan to tamper with the ball.
As a captain it was Smith's job to know what his players were up to. If their motive was illegal, he needed to put a quick stop to any shenanigans. Smith's crime was greater than Warner's. So it was no wonder Warner was incensed by his stiff original punishment while others were treated far more leniently. No wonder also that Warner's manager, James Erskine, incensed at CA's recent behaviour said: "You'd have to be a blind black Labrador to not realise there was far more than three people involved in this thing."
Warner won't be bullied. He'll have his say and if he does reveal all later in a book, it'll be worth reading
In the lead-up to the events in South Africa and in the aftermath, CA has erred regularly because self-protection is a high priority for them. The lop-sided punishments, the botched integrity review in South Africa, and then the absurd decision to not allow an appeal by the Australian players - their list of failures goes on. No wonder Warner had a gut full, but he chose the right target to attack.
The fact that he was subject to stronger punishment than anyone else over the sandpaper affair smacked of a resentment being repaid. The current CA board has washed their hands off the matter saying they weren't involved. Sure, they weren't on the board at the time but they have since done nothing to dispel the idea they are still in self-protection mode.
Whether Warner was disliked by an administrator or it was because he was prepared to speak out during the feisty pay wrangle is unknown and likely to remain that way. What is known is Warner won't be bullied. He'll have his say and if he does reveal all later in a book, it'll be worth reading. It may take some work to get his book published because there'll be a lot of red faces around if it does reach the public.
Warner was wrong to do what he did in Cape Town and he was punished. Cheating on the cricket field is not something that should be accepted and the Australian team were vilified by a disbelieving public.
What is indisputable is that integrity is a valued quality. Integrity needs to be on display at all times by all levels of Australian cricket and there's no better person to lead the charge than the captain.

Former Australia captain Ian Chappell is a columnist