Warner won't take CA contract as he eyes white-ball future

Having flagged the end of his Test career this summer, the veteran opener discusses his plans for his involvement in the limited-overs formats

David Warner has confirmed he won't take up a Cricket Australia contract if offered one next year, and is unlikely to be available for the national men's team's white-ball commitments at home against the West Indies later in the current summer.

But Warner, who has already flagged plans to retire from Test cricket following the New Year's match against Pakistan at the SCG in January, indicated he was a chance to turn out for Sydney Thunder in the BBL "if the dates align with what my schedule is".

The dynamic opener is yet to finalise his playing plans beyond his involvement in a five-match T20I series that begins in India next Thursday (Nov 23), and then the NRMA Insurance Test series against Pakistan beginning at Perth Stadium on December 14.

He holds a contract with Dubai Capitals in the International League T20 competition that overlaps with the latter stages of BBL|13, meaning he could only conceivably play in the UAE tournament from late January after his Thunder commitments are complete.

That's unless he negotiates an early exit from the BBL with CA, as was the case for Adelaide Strikers' Chris Lynn last summer.

Warner claimed his only definitive commitment beyond his final Test appearance in his home town is his brother's wedding early in January.

Warner's announcement prior to this year's Ashes campaign in the UK that he would draw the curtain on his remarkable 12-year Test career led to speculation he would abandon all international duties and become a 'hired gun' for T20 franchises worldwide.

But speaking in Kolkata today, the 37-year-old reiterated his intention to keep playing for Australia up until the next ICC T20 World Cup in the USA and Caribbean next year, and also suggested the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy to be held in Pakistan remained a possibility.

However, he remains adamant he won't take up a central contract offer from CA when the next round becomes available even if he meets the qualifying threshold of three Test or five ODI/T20 appearances.

He claimed that not only would a central contract impinge on his capacity to participate in global franchise competitions that best suit his schedule, the rewards offered by a low-ranked CA deal would be outweighed by sponsorship opportunities he could pursue as a freelance cricketer.

"I won't be taking a contract, definitely not," Warner said. "How the system works in Australia is that if you play five (T20) games or ODIs, or three Tests, you get upgraded and then you're legally bound by contracting system with sponsors and stuff. 

"That's something that becomes a bit of a pain in the backside, especially at my stage of my career. 

"So I don't want to be signed to that agreement and that's something I have to think about moving forward, because if you're going to get a low contract, it's going to cost you a lot in the long run with sponsorships. 

"I've got to sit back and have a look at what the schedule is, the (ICC) Future Tours schedule and you've got a Champions Trophy that's coming up as well. 

"So they're potentially on my horizon."

According to the ICC's Future Tours Program released last year for the international playing calendar from 2022 to 2027, the Australia men's team upcoming white-ball commitments (in addition to the T20 World Cup and Champions Trophy) are bilateral series against Pakistan (home) and New Zealand, Afghanistan, Ireland and England (away).

But Warner claimed financial and playing considerations would take a back seat to family priorities now that his daughters (Ivy Mae, Indy Rae and Isla Rose) are starting to take part in organised sport and wife Candice has been shouldering the parenting workload for much of the past decade.

In declining a central contract but still making himself available for select white-ball series and tournaments for Australia, Warner is following a precedent set by other international players including New Zealand swing bowler Trent Boult who asked to be released from his Black Caps contract last year.

"It's very difficult to say, 'I want to play Twenty20s and one-dayers', but you don't want to be taking contracts from a young kid that's coming through," said Warner, who is Australia's leading runs scorer at the current World Cup with 499 from his nine innings thus far.

"And to be fair, it's probably pointless me taking that contract given that I'm not going to be playing Test cricket … but you don't want to disturb what's happening as well. 

"Twenty-year-olds now are going to have to make the decision of whether they're going to go and play international cricket or franchise cricket. 

"Fortunately enough, I've had a very good, successful international career and I'm at the back end where I'm able to choose that."

Warner pointed out that it's his decision to retire from Test cricket that should enable him the freedom to oscillate between international representation and franchise cricket commitments.

But given the primacy Test cricket holds in Australia, he conceded it would not be a feasible option for players who wanted to continue in the red-ball format which, in turn, meant CA could rightly determine where and when their contracted players participated.

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"Test cricket is the pinnacle, I feel like you have to play Test stuff," he said. "That's what I set out to wanting to try and do, if you want to play red-ball cricket you're not going to be picking and choosing which Test matches you play.

"We do miss series due to fatigue and everything so from that perspective, Cricket Australia then won't allow you as part of the (central) contract to go and play in another league. 

"So like, there's a lot of things that you've got to factor in and they're probably going to be conversations I'll have after the (current) summer."

Warner won't rule out extending his playing days for at least the next two or three years, citing examples of ex-Australia allrounder Brad Hogg, West Indies power-hitter Chris Gayle and Pakistan's Shoaib Malik as limited-overs specialists who continued beyond the age of 40.

But by calling time on his Test tenure, and the contractual requirements that accompany players who aspire to pull on the Baggy Green Cap, Warner believes he will be best able to balance family commitments with employment as a professional cricketer.

"I'll have to give myself a little bit of time off after summer to actually think about all of that first," he said of what awaits after his planned Test finale in Sydney.

"My goal is still to set my sights on playing the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean first (in June next year), and I think from there I'll probably decide what I'm going to do with white-ball cricket. 

"I'm still feeling fit. I'm very comfortable with what I'm doing. So I've got to sit down and look at what there is, and what I can play."

Australia's 2023 ODI World Cup fixtures

October 8: Lost to India by six wickets

October 12: Lost to South Africa by 134 runs

October 16: Beat Sri Lanka by five wickets

October 20: Beat Pakistan by 62 runs

October 25: Beat Netherlands by 309 runs

October 28: Beat New Zealand by five runs

November 4: Beat England by 33 runs

November 7: Beat Afghanistan by three wickets

November 11: Beat Bangladesh by eight wickets

November 16: Second semi-final v South Africa, Kolkata, 7.30pm AEDT

November 19: Final, Ahmedabad (D/N), 7.30pm AEDT

Australia squad: Pat Cummins (c), Sean Abbott, Alex Carey, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Marnus Labuschagne, Mitchell Marsh, Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, David Warner, Adam Zampa

2023 World Cup standings

Matches played
No results
Net Run Rate
Total points
1 India Men India Men IND 9 9 0 0 0 2.57 0 18
2 South Africa Men South Africa Men SA 9 7 2 0 0 1.261 0 14
3 Australia Men Australia Men AUS 9 7 2 0 0 0.841 0 14
4 New Zealand Men New Zealand Men NZ 9 5 4 0 0 0.743 0 10
5 Pakistan Men Pakistan Men PAK 9 4 5 0 0 -0.199 0 8
6 Afghanistan Men Afghanistan Men AFG 9 4 5 0 0 -0.336 0 8
7 England Men England Men ENG 9 3 6 0 0 -0.572 0 6
8 Bangladesh Men Bangladesh Men BAN 9 2 7 0 0 -1.087 0 4
9 Sri Lanka Men Sri Lanka Men SL 9 2 7 0 0 -1.419 0 4
10 Netherlands Men Netherlands Men NED 9 2 7 0 0 -1.825 0 4

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points