Cricket Australia has ratified a change to its Code of Conduct for Players and Player Support Personnel, opening the door for David Warner to have his lifetime leadership ban overturned.
The New South Welshman was banned from all captaincy positions following the infamous Cape Town sandpaper incident in 2018.
Since returning to the national side in 2019, there has been growing speculation that Warner’s leadership ban should be revoked, with Test captain Pat Cummins among those supporting the move.
Watch Australia v England. Every ODI live and ad-break free in play on Kayo. New to Kayo? Start your free trial now >
Last month, the CA Board requested an amendment to the organisation’s Code of Conduct that would allow players and support staff to request for the modification of long-term sanctions.
And on Monday morning, CA confirmed those changes had been accepted and given formal approval following a review by Head of Integrity Jacqui Partridge.
Warner is now permitted to apply for his lifetime ban to be modified before a panel of three code of conduct commissioners, but the 36-year-old will have to demonstrate “remorse” and evidence of improved behavior to be successful.
Under the previous Code of Conduct, players do not have the right to have a sanction reviewed once it has been accepted.
“Under the changes, players and support staff can now apply to have long-term sanctions modified,” Cricket Australia said in a statement.
“Any applications will be considered by a three-person review panel, comprising independent code of conduct commissioners, which must be satisfied that exceptional circumstances exist to justify modifying a sanction.
“These circumstances and considerations will include whether the subject of the sanction has demonstrated genuine remorse; the subject’s conduct and behavior since the imposition of the sanction; whether rehabilitation programs have been completed undertaken (if applicable) and the length of time that has passed since the sanction was imposed and whether sufficient time has passed to allow for reform or rehabilitation.
“The hearing of an application is not an appeal, or a review of the original sanction imposed.”
The Code of Conduct now states: “Acknowledges that Players and Player Support Personnel are capable of genuine reform or rehabilitation and is intended to provide the Player or Player Support Personnel with an opportunity to resume their previously held positions or responsibilities in specific circumstances.”
Cummins was announced as Australia’s ODI captain last month following Aaron Finch’s retirement, with the paceman leading his country to a six-wicket victory over England in Adelaide on Thursday.
But teammate Josh Hazlewood was given the captaincy duties for the second ODI in Sydney, which Australia won by 72 runs.
The bombshell decision sets up a unique blueprint for Australian captaincy ahead of next year’s World Cup in India, developing a leadership group that can rotate the role if required.
Steve Smith and Alex Carey, who have both led the Australian ODI team before, are among the captaincy candidates, and now Warner could also join the list.
“We’ve obviously got Smith, who was vice-captain tonight, and down the chain there’s another couple in the leadership group,” Hazlewood explained to reporters on Saturday,
“So there’s plenty of options there and I felt even out in the middle there were a number of senior players I could talk to and get their opinions.”
Warner is already a respected leader within the national side in an unofficial capacity — he captained Australia in three ODIs in 2016, also leading the Sunrisers Hyderabad to an Indian Premier League title that year.
The talented left-hander will also be eligible to captain the Sydney Thunder in this summer’s Big Bash League if his lifetime ban is successfully revoked.
Warner recently indicated that he intends to play international cricket until the 2024 T20 World Cup, suggesting he may retire from Tests after next year’s Ashes series in England.
“Test cricket will probably be the first one to fall off,” he told Triple M’s Deadset Legends last week.
“Because that’s how it will pan out. The T20 World Cup is in 2024, (one-day) World Cup next year.
“Potentially it could be my last 12 months in Test cricket.
“But I love the white-ball game; it’s amazing.”
The third and final ODI between Australia and England gets underway on Tuesday afternoon, with the first ball scheduled for 2.20pm AEDT.