Qantas Tour of South Africa

Warner can 'absolutely' return for Aussies

Opening batsman's cards not permanently marked according to CA boss Sutherland

Louis Cameron

01 May 2018, 01:12 PM

Banned vice-captain David Warner could yet pull on his Baggy Green again despite copping the heaviest punishment for his role in the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal, says Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland.

Warner will never hold a leadership position in Australian cricket again after being found responsible for developing the plan to use sandpaper to rough up the ball in the Newlands Test against South Africa in March.

Suspended from all international and Australian domestic cricket until early next year, Warner tearfully conceded last month that he's resigned to the fact that he may never play for Australia again.  

But Sutherland insists all three players involved in the controversy (captain Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft copped 12 and nine-month bans respectively) have opportunities to atone.

"Absolutely, I think everyone deserves their chance and their own personal redemption story is very much in their own hands now," Sutherland told Gerard Whateley on Melbourne radio station SEN

"Each of them have to go about that during the time they're out of the game and prove that their worthy (and) prove to the Australian selectors that they should want them back. 

"They deserve that opportunity."

He added: "I feel for all three players. I feel forgiveness for all of them. I feel sympathy for them and I want to see them all come back and play their best cricket. I believe they all can. 

"Part of the design within the sanctions was to allow them to stay connected with the game. I also see part of our role is to support them with their state associations and their clubs, to help them stay hungry and come back and play their best cricket."  

The trio are all permitted to play Premier Cricket during the terms of their bans. They're also free to pursue playing opportunities abroad in overseas domestic leagues, though Smith and Warner have had multi-million dollar Indian Premier League contracts torn up while Bancroft's deal with UK county side Somerset was cancelled.

In addition to coming up with the idea to tamper with the ball at Newlands, Warner was found to have instructed Bancroft to carry out the plan, according to CA's findings.

His part in the scandal stands in stark contrast to the image his Australia T20 teammates painted of the 31-year-old during their successful tri-series campaign immediately prior to the South Africa Test tour.

Filling in as T20 skipper for Smith, who was rested ahead the Test series, Warner was lauded for his leadership and tactical nous during the campaign. 

Multiple players singled out his calming influence during Australia's record-breaking match against New Zealand at the pocket-sized Eden Park ground, where the visitors pulled off the highest successful run chase in T20 history. 

Match wrap: Bowlers shine as Australia secure title

The opener has also previously earned plaudits for his captaincy in the IPL, leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad to their maiden title in 2016.

Asked if it was a mistake to appoint Warner as vice-captain in the first instance back in 2015, Sutherland said: "It's easy to make those observations in hindsight.

"David was very focused on being a better cricketer, being a better leader, being a better person and he worked very hard on those things. There were certainly good signals in that regard. 

"You've only got to go to the end of our season in Australia before the team went to South Africa where he captained the team (in) a successful tri-series T20 competition to victory. 

"All of the reports were that he led the team with aplomb. His leadership in all that was outstanding. 

"On one hand, it's easy to look back in hindsight and say all those kinds of things but there were a lot of good positive signals around him in terms of how he was responding as a leader."

Speaking on arrival back in Australia last month after the Cape Town incident, Warner apologised for his role in the scandal.

"To the fans and the lovers of the game who have supported and inspired me on my journey as a cricketer, I want to sincerely apologise for betraying your trust in me," he said.

"I have let you down badly. I hope in time I can find a way to repay you for all you've given me and possibly earn your respect again.

"There's a tiny ray of hope that I may one day be given the privilege of playing for my country again but I'm resigned to the fact that that may never happen again.

"In the coming weeks and months I'm going to look at how this happened and who I am as a man. I will seek out advice and expertise to help me make serious changes."