Cricket Australia's bombshell move on David Warner leadership ban

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Steve Smith and David Warner, pictured here after winning the Ashes for Australia.
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering scandal. (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)

Cricket Australia is reportedly set to review the lifetime leadership ban imposed on David Warner for his role in the infamous ball-tampering scandal of 2018.

Warner is banned from holding a leadership position at any level of Australian cricket after he was deemed to be the 'architect' of the sandpaper scandal in South Africa.

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While it was Cameron Bancroft who was caught applying sandpaper to the ball during a Test match in Cape Town, Warner was believed to be the mastermind behind the plan and supposedly put his young teammate up to it.

Bancroft was subsequently banned for nine months, while Warner and then-captain Steve Smith were banned for 12 months.

Smith was banned from holding a leadership role for two years, with Warner copping a lifetime ban in that regard.

However on Thursday, leading cricket writer Ben Horne reported that Cricket Australia is considering overturning Warner's leadership ban.

The Daily Telegraph report claims the CA board will review Warner's ban at its next directors meeting in July.

It is believed the decision is aimed at getting Warner to play in the Big Bash again amid flagging interest and crowd numbers in the domestic T20 competition.

“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,” BBL chief Alistar Dobson told News Corp.

“David has been such a champion of Australian cricket and he’s a player that we’d love to have in the BBL.

“We know he’s got great history with the Sydney Thunder and we’d love all the Australian players to be playing in the BBL if they’re available. If there’s a way that David could find his way onto a BBL list I think it would be huge.”

David Warner, pictured here in action for Australia in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka.
David Warner in action for Australia in the fourth ODI against Sri Lanka. Image: Getty

Warner hasn't played in the BBL since its inaugural season in 2011-12, with wife Candice previously revealing that he would rather play in overseas tournaments if it meant he could captain his side.

Candice also said the length of the BBL - which has come under fire in recent years - was unappealing to Warner and his young family.

“It is disappointing because at this stage, when David decides to retire from Test cricket, he won’t play Big Bash,” she said in December last year.

“And that’s really disappointing for the Australian fans and kids and anyone who loves T20 cricket - the fact that David Warner will never play Big Bash again.

“You also have to consider that there’s so many leagues around the world that are shorter than the Big Bash.

“The Big Bash is a very long tournament. There are tournaments in Dubai in January that may be a better option with the family. David can still be with us Christmas and fly to Dubai early January for a shorter period of time.

“So that is also an option as well and in a few years time, who knows what other tournaments will be going on around the world.”

David Warner, pictured here wife Candice and their daughters after returning home from South Africa in 2018.
David Warner with wife Candice and their daughters after returning home from South Africa in 2018. (Photo by Brook Mitchell/Getty Images)

Cricket world divided over David Warner bombshell

Candice also backed up Shane Warne's criticism at the time that Smith had been reinstated as Australia's Test vice-captain, yet Warner was still banned for life.

“I would have to agree with Shane’s comments when he said that David has a fantastic cricketing brain,” she told 2GB radio.

“And anyone who knows the game or is within the team would definitely say that. His cricketing brain is fantastic.

"He’s also captained the side and had some really great success when he did captain the Australian team over in Sri Lanka, they won that series, over in India, they won that series.

“I think out of nine or 10 games he’s only lost one as captain. So he is a great captain.”

David Warner, pictured here with wife Candice and their daughters Ivy Mae, Indi Rae and Isla Rose in December.
David Warner with wife Candice and their daughters Ivy Mae, Indi Rae and Isla Rose in December. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Cricket fans were left heavily divided over news that Warner could have his leadership ban overturned.

Fans in India - where Warner is adored having captain the Sunrisers Hyderabad in the IPL - were largely supportive of the move, while those in Australia were more sceptical.

One fan wrote on Facebook: "What a disgrace. Warner should never hold a leadership position again."

Another wrote: "Finally! It's about damm time! The man served his punishment!"

While a third added: "Australia is such a big country but can't find new players or captain? Warner already disgraced Australia twice and he is almost 36 years old."

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