Cricket Australia paves way for David Warner’s leadership ban to be lifted

The path for David Warner to resume a leadership role is becoming clearer with Cricket Australia proposing to amend its code of conduct with respect to long-term sanctions.

Warner, the former Test vice-captain, is currently serving a life-time leadership ban for his part in the Cape Town ball tampering affair in 2018, for which he was also handed a 12-month suspension from playing.

The opening batter has been unable to appeal under CA’s current guidelines, which state that once a sanction is accepted – as it was in Warner’s case – the player in question does not have the right to review.

But that could change under a proposed amendment to rules confirmed by CA on Friday, in the clearest indication yet that the 35-year-old could again be permitted to assume a leadership role.

“The amendment would allow a person to request a penalty that they had accepted be reviewed after an appropriate period of time,” CA said in a statement after its board met on Friday.

“The onus would be on the applicant to prove they had undergone genuine reform relevant to the offence they were sanctioned for. Any review would not revisit the original sanction, other than suspension of a penalty in recognition of genuine reform.”

CA said it had called on its head of integrity, Jacqui Partridge, to propose an amendment to the code for consideration.

“It was agreed that should an amendment in respect to long-term sanctions be adopted, any review of a penalty would be heard by an independent code of conduct commission,” the sport’s governing body in Australia said.

Warner has long stated his desire to return to a leadership position, and calls for his reinstatement have grown louder this year, with Test captain Pat Cummins among those to support an end to the ban.

Australia’s one-day international captaincy role is currently vacant after Aaron Finch stepped down as white ball skipper last month, and a decision on Warner is likely to be made by CA before that position is filled.

The Sydney Thunder, Warner’s Big Bash League team, have also not yet appointed a captain ahead of the 2022-23 season.

The CA chairman, Lachlan Henderson, said after the AGM on Thursday the governing body would “adopt a principle of fairness” when assessing Warner’s situation.

“The view within Cricket Australia is that David is doing particularly well on the field and making a great contribution off the field,” he said.

“We need to be careful that we’re not reactive in relation to bans that have been imposed in the past. But we also need to be aware that players and those subject to sanctions can change, can do very well in the future.”