Cricket Australia has never protected the interest of the players and David Warner’s outburst on captaincy ban has exposed the authorities’ “tendencies for back-side protecting”, feels the legendary Ian Chappell.
Warner on Wednesday withdrew the bid to overturn his lifetime captaincy ban, saying the review panel wanted him to go through “public lynching” and he is not prepared to let his family be the “washing machine for cricket’s dirty laundry”.
Chappell became the latest to come out in support of Warner after former skipper Michael Clarke too lashed out at CA for their lopsided review of his leadership ban and making the lefthander a scapegoat in the 2018 sandpaper scandal.
“I couldn’t be happier that David Warner told Cricket Australia the equivalent of “go and get stuffed” when he went public about his decision to withdraw his request for a review of his captaincy ban,” Chappell wrote in a column for ESPNCricinfo.
“This indicated Warner – who had been advised by CA against a public outburst — didn’t trust the authorities to be mindful of his interests. It was a wise decision by Warner as CA is renowned for only protecting their own interests, not those of players.” “Young players should be thankful Warner has exposed CA’s tendencies for back-side protecting. They need to keep it in mind for the future.
“Most importantly, though, Warner’s withdrawal of his review highlights how appalling the original decision to award him a lifetime leadership ban was,” the cricketer-turned-commentator observed.
Then Aussie skipper Steve Smith and his deputy at the time Warner were both suspended for 12 months after Cameron Bancroft was caught applying sandpaper to the ball during a match in South Africa in 2018.
While the trio were handed respective bans from cricket, they also served leadership suspensions.
Smith was banned from holding a leadership position in Australian cricket for two years, while Warner was banned for life in that respect. Bancroft was banned from captaincy for 12 months.
Observing that Warner and Smith should have received the “same leadership punishment after the Cape Town incident”, Chappell remarked that the latter’s “crime was greater”.
“Cheating is indefensible but so also is Smith as Australia captain saying ‘I don’t want to know’ when he walked past Warner and Bancroft, who were deep in discussion in the dressing room before they went ahead with the plan to tamper with the ball,” the 79-year-old wrote.
“As a captain it was Smith’s job to know what his players were up to. If their motive was illegal, he needed to put a quick stop to any shenanigans.
“Smith’s crime was greater than Warner’s. So it was no wonder Warner was incensed by his stiff original punishment while others were treated far more leniently.” The former Australian captain slammed the authorities for the way they handled the issue.
“In the lead-up to the events in South Africa and in the aftermath, CA has erred regularly because self-protection is a high priority for them.
“The lop-sided punishments, the botched integrity review in South Africa, and then the absurd decision to not allow an appeal by the Australian players – their list of failures goes on. No wonder Warner had a gut full, but he chose the right target to attack.” The 36-year-old Warner is still living with the leadership ban, four years since the infamous Cape Town Test but Smith is back leading the side in the ongoing day-night second Test against the West Indies following skipper Pat Cummins injury pullout.
“I doubt Warner was expecting to gain a leadership position in the Australia set-up even with a successful review of the ban he received after the ball-tampering debacle in South Africa in 2018,” Chappell wrote.
“He’s too old to be considered for a captaincy position in the Australian regime despite the fact that he has always had great leadership instincts.
“However, I think Warner had hoped he might be able to lead his BBL team, Sydney Thunder, at some point. A pity because he would have been the ideal person to guide younger players on their cricketing path. Not to worry CA, because he’ll still be a leader and be listened to by any cricketer who wants to get ahead.” Chappell feels Warner may have been “disliked” by a CA administrator because he came out openly against the administration in their pay wrangle.
“Whether Warner was disliked by an administrator, or it was because he was prepared to speak out during the feisty pay wrangle is unknown and likely to remain that way. What is known is Warner won’t be bullied.” Urging Warner to write a tell-all book, Chappell wrote: “He’ll have his say and if he does reveal all later in a book, it’ll be worth reading. It may take some work to get his book published because there’ll be a lot of red faces around if it does reach the public.”