David Warner bombshell revives ball tampering saga

Publish Date
Friday, 9 December 2022, 3:14PM

By Alex Blair

David Warner’s manager has fired an almighty shot at Cricket Australia over its handling of the former vice-captain throughout the ball tampering saga, declaring “the truth will come out”.

The ugly scandal has now been reignited smack in the middle of the Test summer, with arguably more attention devoted to it than the game at the Adelaide Oval this afternoon.

In November, Cricket Australia ratified a change to its Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, opening up the door for Warner to have his lifetime leadership ban overturned.

Warner was prepared to appeal the decision, but has now rescinded his attempt to overturn the ban because the hearings will be made public.

In a statement posted last night, Warner said he has continually been subject to a “public lynching” following the Newlands fiasco. After four years of scrutiny, Warner says he will not put his family in the firing line again.

Now, Warner’s manager James Erskine has claimed the opening batsman had “protected” Cricket Australia and its players for years – and was unfairly villainised in the process.

He said the scandal “was blown out of all proportion” as headlines about Australia’s purportedly rotten team culture continued to dominate the news.

“The Prime Minister came out [at the time], [Malcolm] Turnbull came out and said this is a disgrace and whatever, I think he regrets those comments now, Cricket Australia had the whole process, the [Iain] Roy report was done in four days,” Erskine said in a radio interview with SEN today.

“You’d have to be a blind black Labrador, there was far more than three people involved in this thing, they all got a canning and David Warner was completely villainised.

“He has shut up, he protected Cricket Australia, he protected his fellow players on my advice, because at the end of the day no one wanted to hear any more of it and he’s got on playing cricket.”

Erskine went on to claim unnamed Australian “executives” were pushing for the side to ball tamper during a Test in Hobart in 2016.

“The truth will come out, let me tell you,” Erskine claimed.

“There’s lots of people. There’s two cricketers who put their hands up and said at the time, ‘Why don’t we all just tell the truth, they can’t fire all of us.’ That’s what happened.

“Two senior executives were in the changing room in Hobart and basically were berating the team for losing against South Africa [in 2016] and Warner said we’ve got to reverse-swing the ball. The only way we can reverse-swing the ball is by tampering with it.

“And they were told to do it.”

Former players leap to Warner’s defence

A number of Aussie Test greats have gone after Cricket Australia’s handling of the recent David Warner saga concerning his push to regain the right to a leadership role.

Former skipper Michael Clarke said Warner was clearly fuming over having lost the opportunity to lead Australia and called on the governing body to address the uncomfortable issue.

At 36, rumours are beginning to build over his retirement despite continuing to be Australia’s first-choice opening batsman in all three formats.

“You can tell he’s disappointed and frustrated,” Clarke said on Big Sports Breakfast, pointing to the fact Steve Smith was walking out with the blazer on after copping a ban over the ball tampering incident.

“I think the other thing that probably hurts a little bit more is the fact Steve Smith is going to captain this Test match.

“I can understand Davey’s disappointment. In regards to where Davey is with his age, he’s unfortunately missed out on the captaincy opportunity in my opinion.

“I don’t think that’s the concern, it’s the fact it’s taken so long to process this or to get to where it’s at.

“I see it as very inconsistent. I find it very hard to believe it’s okay for one but not okay for the other to have a leadership role.”

Clarke said the fair call would be to either ban all players involved in ball tampering from ever holding leadership positions, or allow them all.

“If CA decided all the guys involved in what went down in South Africa, none of them were going to play a leadership role, I think that’s a fair call,” he said.

“But if it’s okay for one, if it’s okay for Smithy, it’s got to be ok for [Cameron] Bancroft and it’s got to be okay for Warner.

“I don’t know if it’s fair to make David Warner the complete scapegoat and say everyone else can go back to normal.”

Ex-wicketkeeper Ian Healy went so far as to claim he was “saving cricket”.

“He has saved cricket here. That panel was going to air cricket’s problems. Why? Why would they do that when every other aspect of their negotiations with the Australian Cricketers’ Association, for example, are endeavouring to stay behind closed doors very well,” Healy said on SENQ Breakfast.

“Don’t air those negotiations, get the job done no matter what it takes behind closed doors.

“Very much like the Rugby League Players’ Association and the Commission and the NRL and the clubs. They’re circling without us knowing exactly what’s going on.”

Speaking at Cricket NSW headquarters in Sydney on Thursday, veteran spinner Steve O’Keefe said Warner should be allowed to lead any team he wanted to after what he felt had been an over-the-top ban.

“Why go all though that rubbish? I agree with Davey 100 per cent,” O’Keefe said

“What CA should do is say that ‘we’re going to give you the opportunity to come back and be a leader’.

“I think the ban on all three of them was way too harsh to begin with, I don’t know why Davey was singled out that he can’t be a leader.

“I think that given his age and his maturity and his growth and development, he deserves that opportunity to lead an Australian team as much as anybody else.

“Going through that whole process would be pointless and it’d dredge up ugly scenes that we’ve already been through and moved on from.

“The right thing would be for them to say ‘we rescind on what we’ve done and we’re going to give you the opportunity to captain an Australian team’.”

This article was first published on nzherald.co.nz and is republished here with permission

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