David Warner is one of those players that opposition fans love to hate but at the same time, also secretly wish he played for their team. Essentially, this comes down to Warner’s terrier-like attitude on the pitch where he doesn’t give an inch and doesn’t mind standing on toes in the process. It is a bullish, in-your-face, and aggressive approach that perhaps, unsurprisingly, earns him detractors everywhere he goes in the world.
But that doesn’t stop fans from allowing themselves the chance to quietly dream of what life would be like for their team if they had a man who is on the all-time list for the most man-of-the-match performances in IPL history playing for them. Yes, Warner’s unquestionable talent and his willingness to do anything to win make him a formidable opponent.
SIX!— Fox Cricket (@FoxCricket) December 9, 2021
Warner makes it look easy 🙌
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Warner crosses the line
It is this desire to win at all costs though, that almost ended Warner’s career after he was found to have been the chief architect of a ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. The combative left-handed opener was subsequently banned for 12 months having been found guilty of altering the surface of the ball and stripped of his vice-captaincy role for Australia. Over those uncertain days in March 2018 when the scandal was on the front page of every sports publication in the world, Warner would have undoubtedly feared that his playing days were over given the type of uncompromising language that Cricket Australia were using.
In fact, during the trip back on the Qantas A380 that carried the diminutive player back to Australia to face a media-feeding frenzy in Sydney, Warner must have looked out upon the vast Indian Ocean and thought there was no way back. It was obvious upon arrival in Australia that Warner hadn’t slept on the flight and it took a matter of seconds for him to become emotional as he read out a prepared statement before being ushered out of the press room, perhaps never to be seen again on a cricket pitch.
Watch David Warner make statement about ball-tampering scandal https://t.co/rhzuY2Mlr3— ABC News (@abcnews) March 31, 2018
An astonishing U-turn
Fast forward four years and Warner is now on the brink of being appointed the ODI captain in time for the World Cup in 2023 in India. It has, to put it mildly, been an inexplicable turn of events that make you question Cricket Australia’s once robust stance on breaking the rules in order to gain an unfair advantage. Of course, it’s important to stress that professional sportspeople are allowed to rehabilitate and show genuine contrition. That is not in question, but rather the fact that Australia’s hierarchy seems to be bringing this scandal back to life by potentially making Warner the face of Australian cricket once more.
Needless to say, it is one thing to allow Warner a place in the team and quite another to make him the leader of the most successful cricketing nation in history, on the back of the goings-on at Newlands in 2018. However, it is the unparalleled success that Australia have enjoyed with Warner in the side which probably explains why he is being considered for such a role when you take into account that the opener was the player of the tournament at the 2021 T20 World Cup that the Aussies won.
Tellingly, this is an outcome that could happen again given that the T20 betting site Betway has priced Australia, as of the 2nd of November, at 8/1 to win back-to-back World Cups in the shortest format during the 2022 event in their own country. With Australia’s purple patch in mind and Warner’s part in spearheading this domination, it’s easier to see why the country’s cricketing governing body are toying with the idea of making the 36-year-old captain.
Although, how long Cricket Australia feel Warner can carry on playing for given that he will be 37 when the World Cup starts next year, is another question and again, makes you question the shortsightedness of it all. At least, you can’t help but feel that with all the wounds this decision is set to open up again, would have it been worth it if Warner retires shortly after the 2023 World Cup?
🗣 'The scandal that shook cricket'— Sky Sports Cricket (@SkyCricket) June 13, 2018
Today marks the start of a new era for Australia following the ball tampering scandal as they prepare for their ODI series against England. 🏏
Watch it live on Sky Sports Cricket now or follow online 📲 https://t.co/rVzaI4fZio pic.twitter.com/GJX387sEBr
The long and short of it is that this is a cricketing nation that seemed genuinely determined to restore its image as a tough, but fair-playing team. All of that work over the last four years could potentially be undone if they bring the sandpaper gate saga back into everyone’s mind by making Warner captain.