Warner pulls out of Hundred, ECB delays season start
Aussie opener cites scheduling clash and family reasons as UK domestic season opening is postponed
AAP & Cricket Network
21 March 2020, 11:55 AM AEST
David Warner has cited a scheduling clash and family time as the reasons behind his decision to withdraw from the inaugural edition of The Hundred in the UK later this year.
The tournament is due to run July 17 to August 15, though with the England and Wales Cricket Board's decision on Friday to delay the beginning of its domestic season until May 28 at the earliest due to the coronavirus pandemic, there could well be knock-on effects for The Hundred.
Warner's withdrawal from the tournament is unrelated to COVID-19; cricket.com.au has been shown an email exchange between the 33-year-old's management and The Hundred organisers from early this month regarding his decision to pull out.
"I was excited to participate in The Hundred's inaugural season with the Southern Braves, though with the latest updates to the Cricket Australia schedule in the middle part of 2020, and due to the exceptionally busy cricketing program over the last 12 months, I have decided to put my family first and spend this time of the year with them," Warner said in a statement that was prepared prior to the coronavirus being declared a pandemic.
Warner will instead make himself available for Australia's currently unscheduled home limited-overs series with Zimbabwe, slated for August. The move represents a turnaround on his stance in January, when his manager James Erskine said Warner would be prioritising The Hundred ahead of the international series given no dates for the Zimbabwe series had been set and a commitment to the UK-based tournament had already been made.
The ECB's decision to delay the beginning of their home summer came two days after it suspended all recreational cricket. The County Championship was due to start on April 12 and the T20 Blast is to start on May 29 but the ECB said work has begun on possible revised schedules to begin in June, July or August.
The opening England international of the season is on June 4 against West Indies at The Oval, the first of three Tests.
Australia are scheduled to arrive for three T20 and three ODI matches against England from July 3.
The governing body approved a seven-week delay to the start of the 2020 season following discussions with the first-class counties, the MCC and the Professional Cricketers' Association.
"The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said.
Warner is the first marquee player to withdraw from The Hundred, with Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Aaron Finch, Adam Zampa, Dan Christian, Glenn Maxwell, D'Arcy Short, Chris Lynn, and Nathan Coulter-Nile the other Australians signed on to be involved.