David Warner set to snub Australia in $2.1 million cricket bombshell

·Sports Editor
·6-min read
David Warner, pictured here in action for Australia in a Test match in 2018.
David Warner in action for Australia in a Test match in 2018. (Photo by Ashley Vlotman/Gallo Images/Getty Images)

David Warner is reportedly set to turn his back on the Big Bash League for good and play in a new T20 league in the UAE this summer.

With South Africa pulling the pin on a scheduled ODI series down under in January, Australia's international players are set to be available for the back half of the BBL.

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The bombshell move from South Africa has opened the door for the likes of Warner and Steve Smith to play in the domestic T20 league, but Warner is reportedly set to snub the BBL.

According to Peter Lalor of The Australian, Warner has issued a request to be able to play in the UAE’s new T20 league in January.

The United Arab Emirates T20 league is said to be offering three-year contracts worth AU$2.1 million for participants, and clashes with the BBL between January 6 and February 12.

Three IPL franchises – the Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders and Delhi Capitals – have all invested in teams in the new UAE league.

“I think it would almost be commercial suicide for (Cricket Australia) to allow a player like him (Warner) to go head-to-head up against their own competition,” Aussie legend Adam Gilchrist told SEN radio on Wednesday.

“They can’t force David Warner to play in the BBL, I understand that, but to let him then go off – or another player, let’s not single out Warner because there will be other players on the radar – it’s all part of this global dominance that these IPL franchises are starting to create given they own a number of teams in the Caribbean Premier League. They own all six teams I believe in the new South African tournament that’s coming up, which will be locking horns for commercial space and airtime with the Big Bash.

“It’s getting a little bit dangerous the grip that it’s having to monopolise that ownership and the ownership of the players and their talents and where they can and can’t play.

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

“David Warner, again, using him as an example, we can’t question his commitment to Australian cricket over the years, he’s carved out one of the great careers.

“If he rides off into the sunset and says, ‘Sorry Australian cricket, I’m going to become a gun for hire for my Indian franchise team in various tournaments’ you can’t question him on that, that’s his prerogative and he’s done everything he needs to get the profile and get that market value.

“It’s the new younger player coming in that starts to make those noises where it’ll be really challenging.

“Perhaps it’s the first example where David Warner doesn’t sign a contract with Cricket Australia at all, he just plays for a match fee.

“He goes and plays whatever he wants but says, ‘I’m available for every Test match, for every one-day international and every T20 international’ by way of example, I’ll be there for you in national colours.

“But other than that, I’m going to play my club, my franchise cricket, wherever I want to knowing that none of those big tournaments will be clashing with international cricket.”

Steve Smith and David Warner, pictured here at an Aussie cricket training session.
Steve Smith and David Warner were banned for their roles in the ball-tampering scandal. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

Why David Warner doesn't want to play BBL

Warner hasn't played in the BBL since 2013, with wife Candice previously revealing that he would rather play in overseas tournaments if it meant he could captain his side.

Warner is currently banned from holding a leadership position within Australian cricket (including the BBL) for life due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in 2018.

He and then-captain Steve Smith were banned from playing for 12 months, while Smith was banned from holding a leadership role for two years and Warner copped a lifetime ban in that regard.

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

David Warner, pictured here with wife Candice and their daughters at the MCG in 2021.
David Warner with wife Candice and their daughters at the MCG in 2021. (Photo by Mike Owen/Getty Images)

“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."

Earlier this week former Test captain Allan Border called on Cricket Australia to overturn Warne's leadership ban, a move that might entice him to play in the BBL again.

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