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, 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.”
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.
“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.
Pretty simple for Warner. If he genuinely wants to play in new UAE league in peak Aust summer in January then he needs to retire from international cricket. CA would be making an extraordinary and unprecedented concession to give him an NOC unless he does that first
— Daniel Brettig 🏏 (@danbrettig) July 27, 2022
Rather than be grumpy at him for wanting to go, maybe the organisers need to assess why he would rather play over therr!
— Beau 🥋🚴🏼♂️🏏 (@BeauBremner) July 27, 2022
I reckon it’s time for Warner to retire from international cricket
— Sandy Lanceley (@sandylanceley) July 27, 2022
Wow that’s so disappointing and not a good look for the BBL.
— Matt Hope (@MattHope4) July 27, 2022
Unacceptable is the first word that comes to mind
— Max Hatzoglou (@MHatzoglou) July 27, 2022
But apparently he should have a leadership role in Aust cricket again (according to his wife and presumably himself).
Spare me. Time for Davy to move on.
— journalistagendas (@journalistagen1) July 27, 2022
Of course @davidwarner31 can go and play in the UAE. Don’t play for Australia again. Why would I want to go and see one of the greatest 20/20 Batsman play in the BBL!! Surely you could give something back to Australian Cricket and the next bunch of AUS 20/20 players. Greed 💵💵💵
— David Dowd (@Dowd2803) July 27, 2022
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