Australia opener David Warner was suspended for one year for his part in the infamous ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in 2018. Furthermore, Cricket Australia (CA) also imposed a lifelong leadership ban on Warner — who was the vice-captain at that time — meant he can never hold a leadership position within the Australia team. While Steve Smith’s leadership ban following the “sandpaper-gate” scandal ended in 2020, Warner is still ineligible to lead Australia.
Former Australia all-rounder Shane Watson believes Warner has served his time and his leadership ban needs to be revisited. Warner saw significant success leading a T20 side by winning the IPL 2016 edition as Sunrisers Hyderabad skipper. Warner was at the helm of affairs at Hyderabad before a fall-out with the team management led to his exit from the franchise.
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Both Watson and Warner are currently a part of the Delhi Capitals dugout. While Warner has made a successful return to his first IPL franchise, Watson is the assistant coach of the side.
“This is my opinion, and I know it’s a big opinion within Australian cricket in certain parts, he’s served his time,” Watson told The Grade Cricketer.
“He was involved in a big mistake but he’s been severely punished in so many ways. The way they hung him out to dry and everything really came back on him, the financial impact that it had on him, and publicly, he’s been absolutely smashed across the board.”
According to a Cricket Australia (CA) investigation held in the aftermath of the Cape Town incident, while Smith and Bancroft knew what they were getting into, it was Warner who had developed the “plan to attempt to artificially alter the condition of the ball”.
“He’s done his time. Everyone makes mistakes. Some are more public than others, and some are worse than others, but you are allowed to forgive.
“I think it’s absurd that he’s not allowed to captain a team, whether it’s a Big Bash team or an Australian team, if he’s the right person at the right time. Think it’s absolutely ridiculous,” Watson further said.
Warner is among the leading run-scorers of the ongoing IPL season with 432 runs in 12 games with five half-centuries. He was bought by the Delhi outfit for ₹6.25 crore at the mega auction earlier this year.