Four years on from the infamous sandpaper scandal, Cricket Australia have foreshadowed an exemption clause to their code of conduct which could pave the way for David Warner to hold a leadership position once more.
Warner was slapped with a lifetime leadership ban and rubbed out of international cricket for 12 months by CA for his part in the ball-tampering scandal at Newlands in 2018.
By accepting the punishment, Warner forfeited the right of holding a leadership position under the integrity code.
Four years on however, with tensions thawing by the day, the governing body is set to insert a ‘Warner clause’ to allow him to hold a leadership position, which won’t fundamentally change the integrity code.
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Speaking to reporters following their AGM, CA chairman Lachlan Henderson said the board, which elected David Maddocks and Clea Smith on Thursday, would look to make a decision on Warner’s leadership ban at a meeting on Friday.
“I think we do need to be aware of precedent. Codes are put in place for good reason and as are sanctions. We need to be careful that we’re not reactive in relation to bans that have been imposed in the past,” Henderson said ahead of Friday’s board meeting.
“We also need to also be aware that players and those subject to sanctions can change, can do very well in the future and we’d like to think that we need to adopt a principle of fairness as we look at David’s situation particularly.
“But it is in the context of the broader code.”
He added: “I think our intention is to review the code as quickly as is practicable. It’s not in anyone’s interest for us to delay that. It would be in time for any future leadership conversations in relation to David.
“(How long it would take to rewrite a code) … will be for smarter legal people in the room than me, but no, it can happen in a relatively timely matter.”
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CA chief-executive Nick Hockley, who was influential in Warner making his long-awaited return to the Big Bash, said Warner’s behaviour in recent years would be taken into consideration.
“I think in very simple terms, what we’re looking at is for the ability for sanction, not decisions but sanctions to be reviewed for good behaviour, growth, and development after a period of time,” he said.
Warner’s suspension has come back into the spotlight over the past two months after the star left-hander, who was the player of the tournament at last year’s World Cup, signed with the Sydney Thunder.
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His signature was considered pivotal in helping draw interest, eyeballs and providing credibility to the Big Bash which has struggled to lure the game’s best players in recent years.
But Aaron Finch’s decision to retire from ODIs last month – a year out from next year’s 50-over World Cup – has also raised questions on who will lead the side.
Test captain Pat Cummins, who has advocated for Warner’s ban to be reconsidered, could take over the captaincy, but the fast bowler’s availability would be a concern.
There is also a preference for the one white-ball captain to be named.