Why Warner ban is now self defeating

David Warner is back playing his first Test on Australian soil, but there is one door that's locked forever.

Steve Smith's imminent availability for captaincy consideration raises the question whether it was fair to give Warner a lifetime ban from leadership for his role in the ball-tampering saga.

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Steve Smith (L) is poised to return to a leadership role in Australian cricket, an opportunity David Warner (second right) will never receive. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
Steve Smith (L) is poised to return to a leadership role in Australian cricket, an opportunity David Warner (second right) will never receive. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Now that the dust has well and truly settled on Cape Town, there is a prevailing assumption across Australian cricket that more than three people knew more than they let on, and Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft carried the can for the crime.

The fact that the national selectors pushed Smith and Warner high into the top five of this year's contract list was some indication they felt the pair had already been punished harshly.

But unlike the other two, Warner can never get it all back.

Cricket Australia Chairman Earl Eddings told News Corp Australia at the game's recent annual general meeting that the board had no plans at this stage to revisit Warner's total ban from leadership at any level of the game in Australia.

David Warner, Joe Burns, Tim Paine, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith of Australia inspect the pitch during an Australia nets session at The Gabba. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images
David Warner, Joe Burns, Tim Paine, Marnus Labuschagne and Steve Smith of Australia inspect the pitch during an Australia nets session at The Gabba. Picture: Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

It might be unrealistic to suggest Warner would ever be a candidate for an official leadership position at a national level again, but the question is more one of principle and whether Australia is missing an opportunity by shutting him out.

Test skipper Tim Paine and one-day captain Aaron Finch have made no secret of the fact they see Warner's input into leadership discussions as pivotal.

That has been actively welcomed since he returned for the World Cup earlier this year.

"It's really critical that our young guys learn from them as much as we can and try and emulate the things they've been doing," said Paine.

Coach Justin Langer was of a similar mind about Warner's impact on the team environment, indicating they'd even spoken about who might be best suited as his opening partner this summer.

"We talk a lot about batting, about cricket," he said.

 

"I love working with him and having him in the team and watching him go about his business.

"He does it differently to many, that's why he's one of the champions of the game.

"I know how important he is to our team."

Steve Smith is strongly in contention to captain again in the near future, but Warner's voice must stay unofficial.

He will never be fully reinstated.

Pakistan bowling coach Waqar Younis has worked with Warner at a couple of different franchises around the world and had no hesitation making him captain of his Canadian Twenty20 team just six weeks after last year's ball-tampering scandal.

Australian cricket team coach Justin Langer (left) loves working with David Warner. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England
Australian cricket team coach Justin Langer (left) loves working with David Warner. Picture: AAP Image/Darren England

In a few months, Warner is likely to return as a captain in the Indian Premier League and then England's Hundred competition.

The rest of the world has wiped the slate clean for him, however, the 33-year-old will never be allowed to even captain a Twenty20 franchise in Australia under the terms of his suspension.

Warner is not playing in the Big Bash at the moment, but what impact could he have on the next generation if he was entrusted to lead a side in the twilight of his career?

With a degree of anxiousness about a lack of leadership and experience across Australian cricket under Paine and Finch, it feels like Warner's life ban is now self defeating.

News Corp Australia


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