Australian Cricketers’ Association CEO Todd Greenberg has lamented a missed opportunity to move on from the David Warner leadership saga that he says instead “smacked” the opening batter in the face.
On Wednesday, Warner announced that he would be withdrawing his bid with Cricket Australia to have his leadership ban overturned.
That came after allegations of “offensive comments” being made by the legal counsel assisting the independent panel during a hearing.
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Warner’s lifetime leadership ban, which came after the infamous 2018 ball-tampering scandal in South Africa, looks set to remain intact for the foreseeable future.
The latest development in a lengthy saga has drawn the ire of the Australian Cricketers’ Association boss, who lashed out at the handling of the appeal.
Greenberg said Warner didn’t have any alternative but to withdraw his appeal given the circumstances.
He also questioned the drawn-out process of the appeal, which took nine months to reach a resolution that was ultimately determined by Warner stepping away.
Greenberg cited three primary failings, stemming largely from Cricket Australia’s decision to go with an independent investigation.
“The moment Cricket Australia outsourced the review it, in my view, lost control of that process,” Greenberg said on SEN radio.
“I appreciate there are complexities with codes of conduct, and I understand that there is a level of detail, but it is fact that once it was outsourced the process was lost.
“The second point I’d make is the code of conduct amendments that were introduced by Cricket Australia were that the review would be conducted privately unless there was very good reason for it not to be.
“There’s nothing that’s remarkable about that at all. That’s how every code of conduct hearing has been conducted from the very beginning, so why the panel decided the issue needed to be a public hearing after both Cricket Australia and David agreed the matter be held privately is beyond me and I think lacks a real level of common sense.
“I suppose the third and final point I’d make is the code of conduct amendments were designed not for the review application to be an appeal of the original offence; it was certainly nothing like that. It was supposed to be a forward-looking about remorse and rehabilitation.
“The process became a long way removed from one in which David agreed to participate. That’s ultimately where we landed. That’s why I don’t think David had much choice but to do what he did. It seems wretchedly unfair.”
In the wake of Wednesday’s news, Warner received an outpouring of support.
His wife Candice said her family had “been through hell” and that they still dealt with abuse at matches.
Greenberg said Cricket Australia lost a prime opportunity to use Warner’s experience to guide the next generation of competitors.
“People make mistakes through their careers and other people will lay in judgment of those mistakes. Ultimately, you’re not judged by not so much the mistakes but how you respond from it,” he said.
“Our players deserve enormous credit for coming back the way they have. I’m talking about a whole pile of them, not just Dave here. Steve Smith is captaining his country in this Test match.
“Our players paid a significant price for the mistakes they made, but we’ve moved on and I hope others can move on. We saw this, interestingly, as an opportunity to move on. It’s actually come right back and smacked right back in the face.”
Warner withdraws leadership ban appeal
The drama won’t be enough to make Warner walk away from the sport, Greenberg suggests.
He did, however, argue that it shouldn’t have been Warner’s call that ultimately drew closure on the subject.
“I think Dave is happy now that he’s at least got an answer on it, albeit, he had to make the decision for himself,” Greenberg said.
“This was about Dave providing an opportunity to give back to others, so I think he’s got a wonderful career ahead of him.
“I know he’s in the back end of that and hopefully he can keep playing for a bit longer yet. While he’s frustrated and disappointed, the show moves on.
“I don’t think anyone, let alone Dave and his family, has any appetite to drag this on more than it has,” he added.
“I think there’s a clear full stop on this one.”
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