David Warner leadership bid ends with a bang to put the Test team under scrutiny once again

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In an infamous year of dissatisfaction, Cricket Australia has found itself dazed again on the eve of an often famous event on the annual calendar, after the little square of sandpaper that sparked such controversy in South Africa in 2018 continued to sting its soul. Australian cricket.

The day before the Adelaide Test, unprecedented embarrassment erupted again at the time, thanks to David Warner’s extraordinary public complaints about his treatment. In an escalating scandal, hours before the start of the second Test against the West Indies, the batsman’s wife, Candice CA, accused him of “putting his family into hell”.

Related: David Warner withdraws offer to lift lifetime captain’s ban

“We’ve been living with this pain, this pain since 2018,” he told Sydney radio station Triple M. Dave’s expression was very strong and it has to be. We’ve been through hell. It’s exposing our family, but also teammates, to everything again, and what’s disappointing for David is that it’s taking so long.

His exclamation came after Warner’s decision on Wednesday to withdraw from an independent review on whether CA should lift the lifetime captaincy ban against him. The process unofficially began in February, but only became official in late November when Greg Chappell and current Australian captain Pat Cummins filed for a review of the decision, which included character references.

But a disagreement over how an independent review should progress ignited a major crisis in a year as CA jumped from one debate to the next.

From the messy ending, to Justin Langer’s tenure as coach, to a protracted saga that includes the value of his broadcast deal with the Seven network, from the failed T20 World Cup defense to the lousy crowd at last week’s Perth Test, there have been repeated challenges. .

It is said that certificates of achievement have crossed the cracks in all teams. While the national side’s traditional form is strong, the latest blast clears fault lines in Australian cricket from the Newlands Test.

Attention is again on the Australian team in a Test where Steve Smith, who was punished as an accomplice with Warner at Newlands, returns to the captaincy as Pat Cummins’ substitute.

Both Warner and his wife said the decision to withdraw was partly due to a desire to protect teammates from further cross-examination. However, Warner, who has expressed his anger so publicly, will fight and take the field with his teammates, who have repeatedly expressed his concerns about being associated with the scandal.

Just 18 months ago, Cummins, Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood and Nathan Lyon’s bowling attack in Australia made a statement to the “Australian people” that they knew nothing about sandpaper use until they saw the footage on the big screen in Newlands.

They said they were “proud of their honesty”, disappointed that their honesty was at stake, and felt “obliged to re-record basic facts”. Tasked with bowling the West Indies twice over the next five days, and then three Tests against South Africa in a short period of time, they must have been horrified again.

Regardless of who was at fault with igniting the latest explosion, the Australian team’s body language will be scrutinized at length at the Adelaide Oval in the coming days.

Warners and CA expressed their disappointment in Wednesday night’s independent panel’s desire for the trial to be public in opposite ways. Warner has expressed unbridled anger at what he says is the determination to get back the smoldering coal of the South African debacle. CA also hoped that any hearings would be held behind closed doors, as is customary for the national body.

But CA and Warners aren’t the only ones with reputations to consider. CA’s integrity department led by Jacqui Partridge and the panel of Alan Sullivan, Robert Heath, Jane Seawright, Leon Zwier and Adrian Anderson are professionals who have built their own reputations.

Hearings that exclude the public, including those investigating corrupt behavior or cheating, are a regular occurrence. But if we borrow the word “cleanliness” from Warner’s angry account of how the proceedings have developed, the public scrutiny’s spotlight increases honesty, something the independent board will consider.

If the purpose of the review is to test the authenticity of Warner’s remorse and improvements in his behavior, it is dishonest to suggest that the panel should not consider the Newlands Test as the basis for a character test.

Frankly, those who have encouraged Warner and posted character references believe the opener has built solid ground. He may have proven to be an outstanding captain. However, no panel worth its salt will print a rubber stamp without thorough inspection.

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