David Warner has revealed his hesitation to leave his family and play in the BBL ahead of Australia's Test tour of India. Warner will make his long-awaited return to the BBL on Friday night for the Sydney Thunder following a nine-year exile.
The explosive opener will play five games for the Thunder before heading to India in February for a four-Test series. The decision to return to the BBL came after long discussions with wife Candice, with Warner revealing on Thursday that he was hesitant to spend more time away from his family.
To entice the likes of Warner and Steve Smith into spending precious weeks off playing in the BBL, Cricket Australia (CA) had to supplement their salaries with money from their marketing budget. The move was made to ensure the players' wages come closer to what they could command by playing in overseas T20 leagues.
Ahead of a busy year of international cricket, Warner said his decision to forgo nights at home with the family to play in the BBL was not made lightly. “We are cricketers, we are well compensated, but the guys need some time at home,” he said.
"If you're playing all three forms (for Australia), you've got until November away. Me and my family have been through that and it's very challenging."
Smith, who will also end a two-year absence when he suits up for the Sydney Sixers on Saturday night, will play four games in the BBL before heading to India. The former Aussie captain admitted he was unsure how CA could draw the best talent to the BBL, but said money would inevitably be a factor.
"I don't know the exact answer, but that's the key, being able to get the best players in Australia and overseas players to be a part of our league," he said. "I think (money) does at times certainly talk, and the length of (the tournament) certainly talks."
David Warner has lost all hope of returning to captaincy
Warner's decision to return to the BBL was initially thought to be centered around being able to captain the Thunder. The 36-year-old is banned from holding a leadership position within Australian cricket for the rest of his career due to his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal.
But Warner announced his return to the Thunder around the same time it looked as if CA would overturn his ban. Ultimately he abandoned his push to have the ban lifted when an independent panel wanted to hold his appeal in an open forum rather than behind closed doors.
“Yeah, definitely, we’ve moved on from that,” Warner said on Thursday when asked about ever being captain again. “I wiped that straight away, I let go of it as soon as we made that decision and I’m in a great space now and hopefully that continues for the next 12 months.
“It’s a time now where I can give back. This is the last year of my international career potentially. We’ve got a World Cup coming up. I’ve mentioned before it will most likely be my last year.
“I’ve signed for this year and next year (in the BBL). I’ve got my sights set on the 2024 (T20) World Cup as well in the Americas. That would be nice to top it off with a win, pending selection.”
Friday night will mark Warner's first game in the BBL since the summer of 2013/14. On Thursday he admitted he had expected he would only return to the T20 tournament when he retired from international cricket.
"I thought more towards my retirement, at the back end (would be when I would play again)," he said. "I always had plans to do that."
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