Twelve months ago, David Warner bemoaned the fact attendance at the Australian Cricket Awards was mandatory. But on Wednesday he was a notable absentee for Aussie cricket's night of nights.
Warner and wife Candice have been regulars at the Australian Cricket Awards over the years, with David scooping plenty of gongs. But this year he opted to jet off to Dubai to play in the ILT20 competition in the UAE, taking his wife and kids for a holiday in the process.
Because he recently retired from Test and ODI cricket, Warner was seemingly free to head off to Dubai rather than attend the Australian Cricket Awards. The 37-year-old is still contracted by Cricket Australia, but won't have his contract renewed moving forward.
That will free him up to play in whatever T20 league around the world that tickles his fancy. His absence from the awards on Wednesday night was glaringly apparent, especially when a tribute was played to celebrate his Test and ODI careers.
Warner was honoured alongside fellow retirees Meg Lanning, Shaun Marsh and Aaron Finch, however he wasn't there to see it. His absence comes after he publicly bemoaned the fact that attendance was mandatory last year.
Warner had just played the Aussie summer, including Test matches and some BBL games, and only had a few days off before he flew to India for another Test series. The 37-year-old said he would have liked to have stayed home and spent some time with his family rather than being forced to attend the awards.
"It's been challenging," he said of his busy schedule. "I'm quite tired, exhausted." When asked if he was happy to be at the awards he said with a laugh: “No. You can see I’m tired.
"There are a few guys who have gone to the UAE League, which aren't going to the Cricket Australia awards. From my perspective, that would've been nice to have had another night at home. But it is what it is."
David Warner required to fly home for T20 series against Windies
While his attendance at the awards clearly wasn't mandatory this year, he will have to fly home in the coming days to link up with the Aussie T20 side for a series against the West Indies. Warner had been hoping to play the entire ILT20 tournament in the UAE, but has been picked to represent Australia in three T20s against the West Indies.
He may have retired from Test and ODI cricket, but the prolific opener still wants to play the T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies later this year. That means making himself available for T20 games that Australia plays in the lead-up.
"Davey will be picked (for the Windies series), he'll come back from the ILT20," coach Andrew McDonald said last month. "I think most of our players that are going over there are due back on the 7th (of February) in preparation for the T20 in Hobart, so Davey will be a part of those plans."
Chief selector George Bailey previously said: "He'll be part of those T20s at the back end of the summer and the ones in New Zealand as well (later in February). That's the same with all our Australian contracted players. If they're going to be selected in a squad then they're available. If they're not (selected), then it depends what sort of domestic cricket responsibilities they have before they are cleared to play elsewhere."
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