David Warner lashes out as captaincy ban appeal takes huge twist
David Warner has hit out at the independent panel in charge of hearing his appeal to have a lifetime captaincy ban overturned, after the Aussie batter sensationally withdrew his application. Warner on Wednesday night dropped his application to have his leadership ban lifted, before taking to social media to slam the drawn-out process.
Warner was banned from holding a leadership role within Australian cricket for the rest of his career due to his involvement in the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa after being accused of being the 'architect' behind the ploy to use sandpaper on the ball during a Test match at Newlands. The saga resulted in him and Steve Smith suspended being suspended for 12 months and Warner rubbed out from ever being captain or vice-captain of a team in Australia again.
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Cricket Australia approved changes to its code of conduct in November, offering Warner the chance to appeal the lifetime ban. He was expecting to front a panel and plead his growth and contrition since the ball-tampering scandal but Warner says the panel - made up of three independent Code of Conduct commissioners - were determined to dredge up the controversy again and open up the 34-year-old and his family to public ridicule.
Warner, with the support of CA, protested the fact that accredited media were able to attend the hearing, in a desperate bid to keep any appeal in-house. That was denied because the independent panel was able to set their own parameters and method around the process.
In a scathing post on social media, Warner said he had no intention of subjecting his family to what he described as the inevitable "media circus" that would follow such a process. After declaring he had no intention of revisiting the 2018 cheating controversy in painstaking detail again, he ultimately withdrew his appeal.
David Warner withdraws appeal over leadership ban
"Counsel assisting the review panel appeared to be determined to revisit the events of March 2018 and the review panel appears determined to expose me and my family to further humiliation and harm by conducting a media circus," Warner said.
"In effect, counsel assisting, and, it appears, to some extent the Review Panel, want to conduct a public trial of me and what occurred during the Third Test at Newlands.
"They want to conduct a public spectacle to, in the panel's words, have a "cleansing". I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket's dirty laundry. Regrettably, I have no practical alternative at this point in time but to withdraw my application."
Questions will now be asked of how Cricket Australia (CA) officials lost control of the situation, just weeks after the board approved the changes to the code. CA said it supported Warner's bid to have his captaincy ban lifted and said the latest development was regrettable for all parties.
"We are disappointed with this outcome as our intention was to give David the opportunity to demonstrate why his lifetime leadership ban should be varied at an independent hearing and we amended our Code of Conduct accordingly," a CA spokesman said.
"We supported David's wish for these discussions to be heard behind closed doors and respect his decision to withdraw his application. David is a very senior and highly regarded member of the Australian team who has been a great ambassador for the game as a whole since his return from a year-long ban."
Warner could theoretically re-launch an application to have his ban lifted, given his current motion was not heard or defeated. However, that would likely require a significant change in the process currently proposed by the panel.
In a lengthy statement on the eve of the Adelaide Test, and on the same day Steve Smith returned to the captaincy for the second time, Warner lashed out at the situation via an Instagram post supported by multiple teammates.
He claimed the panel had not given consideration to the welfare of Warner's family or teammates as the opener suggested the hearing would be akin to a public lynching. He also suggested counsel assisting the panel, who Warner said had since been removed, had made "offensive and unhelpful comments" about him.
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