David Warner has withdrawn his bid to have his leadership ban overturned by Cricket Australia, launching a scathing attack on his Instagram account in which he branded the process “a public lynching”.
The scathing attack, which was nearly 800 words long, came the day before Australia’s second Test match against the West Indies and two weeks after Warner’s initial application to have the ban lifted. Warner also accused the counsel assisting the review of making “offensive and unhelpful comments” about him.
“Over the course of the past nearly five years since the events that occurred during the third test in Cape Town, even with all the humiliation and attacks that they have had to endure, I have enjoyed the unwavering support of my wife candice, and my three daughters, Ivy Mae, Indi Rae and Isla Rose,” wrote Warner.
“Since that Test and even though my ban from leadership roles may never be lifted, I have taken it upon myself to transform my approach to the game. I have served and been subject to a crushing, unprecedented, penalty that has horribly impacted me and my family for the past nearly five years – without the prospect of any relief until now.”
Following the retirement of Aaron Finch as Australia’s white-ball captain after the T20 World Cup, Cricket Australia ratified an amendment to make a change to its Code of Conduct, allowing Warner to appeal his permanent leadership ban which he was handed for his role in ball-tampering during the third Test between South Africa and Australia at Newlands in 2018.
Then captain, Steve Smith, was also given a leadership ban after the events of the Test match, which lasted for three years. Smith had stepped in as during the 2021/22 Ashes when Pat Cummins was injured, and will do the same in the second Test match against the West Indies on Thursday after Cummins picked up a quad strain during the first match of the series.
“With the announcement of the amendment to the Code of Conduct, I held hope and was encouraged, that I would be given a proper opportunity to demonstrate my deep regret and remorse,” wrote Warner. “And that my rehabilitation and transformation are profound.
“However, despite my opposition and that of Cricket Australia, on Tuesday last week Counsel Assisting the Review Panel and the Review Panel took it upon themselves to concoct an irregular procedure (overturning presumptions and previous practice) for the determination of my application and establish a novel approach that would negatively impact the health and welfare of my family and the interest of the Australian cricket team.
“In effect, Counsel Assisting, and, it appears, to some extent the Review Panel, want to conduct a public trial of me and what occurred during that Third Test at Newlands. They want to conduct a public spectacle to, in the Panel’s words, have a ‘cleansing’. I am not prepared for my family to be the washing machine for cricket’s dirty laundry.
Warner went on to state that the rules of Cricket Australia’s Code of Conduct state that his application was not an appeal of the original decision to implement the ban, and a spokesperson for the board confirmed they supported Warner’s bid for the hearing to be held in private: “The Review Panel appears determined to expose me and my family to further humiliation and harm by conducting a media circus. It appears that the Panel has given no more than passing consideration to issues of player welfare and the interests of Australian cricket and is instead determined to conduct a public lynching.
“I am not prepared to subject my family or my teammates to further trauma and disruption by accepting a departure from the way in which my application should be dealt with pursuant to the Code of Conduct. Some things are more important than cricket.”
The spokesperson for Cricket Australia said they were “disappointed” with the outcome of the process and that Warner is “a very senior and highly regarded member of the Australian team who has been a great ambassador for the game as a whole since his return from a year-long ban.”