Australia’s stand-in skipper Steve Smith has termed David Warner’s lifetime leadership ban as “fundamentally wrong” and hopes that the star opener regains his form after a week of “distraction” that saw him giving up on his captaincy ambitions for good. 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”.
Warner and Smith were both handed a year-long ban after Cameron Bancroft was caught applying sandpaper to the ball during a Test match in South Africa in 2018.
While Smith was banned from holding a leadership position in Australian cricket for two years, Warner was banned for life. Bancroft was banned from captaincy for 12 months.
“From my point of view, banning for life from leadership is just fundamentally wrong,” said Smith, who led Australia in the absence of an injured Pat Cummins and guided the team to a 419-run victory against West Indies here.
“David served his time like I did. For us, we know he’s a leader around the group, and on and off the field he’s doing a tremendous job.
“It’s been a difficult one for him, it’s been a difficult week. It has been more of a distraction for Davey, no doubt, going through that himself.
“David has said he’s done and dusted and get on with it. He’s got our full support. Hopefully he can have a really big series for us against South Africa with the bat.” Warner is enduring a lean patch in the longest format with his last four scores, reading 21 and 28 (second Test in Adelaide) and 5 and 48 (first Test in Perth).
Over the last two years, Warner has averaged just 28.12 without a century.
The left-handed opener is due to play his 100th Test against South Africa in Melbourne at the end of the month but his lack of form has put his place in jeopardy for the upcoming tours of India and England.
“Davey’s a once-in-a-generation player, he’s arguably the best-ever opener for Australia. The way he’s able to put pressure on bowlers from the outset helps everyone down the order as well,” Smith said.
“He’s been an incredible player for a long period of time, his record suggest that. There’s no reason why he can’t have a big series for us coming this week as well. He’s batting nicely.
“He hasn’t had a great deal of luck lately either, it seems like every time he gets an inside edge, it goes onto the stumps. A lot of the time when you’re scoring runs you need some luck.
“For me it’s in his body language the way he goes out there – he’s really positive and just in a good frame of mind. Particularly yesterday when he went out to bat he was in a good frame of mind, the way his feet were moving was really sharp,” he added.