Why Warner’s captaincy ban is punishing only Australia
Cricket Australia will need to lift the controversial captaincy ban on David Warner if they ever want him to play in the Big Bash again.
Warner is banned for life from holding an official leadership role in Australian cricket following his part in the infamous ball-tampering scandal.
But that decision - one based on emotion at the time, and one which is hard to justify now when he's successfully skippering teams in competing leagues overseas, is no longer punishment for Warner and is only serving to hurt Australia's domestic game.
It looks even more ridiculous at a time when broadcasters and CA alike are desperately trying to inject new life into the BBL and return it to its glory days.
Test captaincy great Ian Chappell is on the record as saying he can't understand how Steve Smith is allowed to lead again and Warner can't.
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Smith may himself never get that chance again anyway, but while a ban from leading the Australian team is one thing, continuing to dismiss what Warner could offer the game at BBL level seems counter-productive.
Warner declared on Monday he won't play in the Big Bash until he's retired from international cricket due to the demands of the international schedule, but it's difficult to see why he would return at all unless he felt his value as a leader was being appreciated.
In the IPL, Warner is a title-winning captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, at a franchise where internationally renowned Kiwi skipper Kane Williamson is his deputy.
The Sunrisers bowed out in the IPL's preliminary final this year, but not before a clutch run of form to end the season where they beat eventual champions Mumbai Indians just to qualify, and then ended Virat Kohli's campaign with a massive upset over Royal Challengers Bangalore in a knockout playoff.
If Warner's pedigree of winning big matches on Twenty20 cricket's biggest stage isn't something Big Bash bosses are craving for their own competition, then they have a different understanding of star power to their broadcasters, Channel 7 and Fox Sports.
Cricket Australia has introduced three BBL rule changes which have polarised opinion, but Warner says securing the best talent is what matters.
"If you can get the Australian players and the best international players coming out to play in that, that would probably fix that sort of issue with what they're trying to tinker with the rules," Warner said.
It's understood the Sydney Thunder made an approach to get Warner back into the BBL for the first time since 2013-14 last summer, but had no joy.
From next season the Thunder might be able to offer him the captaincy too, after Callum Ferguson announced his retirement from first-class cricket … but CA would have to pave the way first.
Warner is at the top of any T20 wish list and It would be a missed opportunity for Cricket Australia if they can't convince him to play the BBL deep into his 30s as Shane Watson, Shane Warne, Ricky Ponting, Mike Hussey and others have done over the years, not simply because he's box office, but for what his presence could do to help develop the generation of young players lining up with or against him.
The BBL needs Warner more than he needs the BBL.
Originally published as Why Warner's captaincy ban is punishing only Australia