MELBOURNE: Steve Smith and David Warner could push for their 12-month bans from domestic cricket to be eased, with supporters of the sacked captain and vice-captain questioning how they can mount returns to the Australian team in a year if they have not been playing at the state level.
Both Smith and Warner have assembled high-powered legal teams as they weigh up whether to contest the sanctions handed to them by Cricket Australia over the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal and the principal grievance is with the severity of the penalties, which they believe are excessive.Warner’s group of advisors includes his manager, James Henderson, Melbourne-based QC Matt Connock and one other silk, a psychologist and a financial advisor, who is crunching the numbers on a range of scenarios for the ousted opener.
They include the possibility that Warner, 31, may retire but also an outcome whereby he is unable to win a central contract when his ban expires because he has no time or opportunity to prove himself.
That is a key consideration for both the Warner and Smith camps as they mull over whether to contest the charges against them at a hearing before an independent code of conduct commissioner.
CA contracts international players for a period from July 1 to June 30 but the list is usually determined by early April and players told their individual rankings in the weeks after.
Smith and Warner are ranked No.1 and No.3 on the 2017/18 list, with retainers of $2m and $1.45m respectively, and while they will not be contracted for the 2018/19 period sources close to them argue they should be given an opportunity to win a deal for the following year.
Their 12-month suspensions from the domestic game as well as from playing for Australia hurts those chances, leaving them only able to play in the NSW Premier Cricket grade competition next summer.
There may well be a push behind the scenes in coming days for the domestic sanctions to be eased so that the players would be permitted to turn out in the Sheffield Shield.
Former Test captain Ian Chappell believes it will be difficult for Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft to return to their best after the bans expire. On Channel Nine’s Sports Sunday, former Australian captain Ian Chappell calls for James Sutherland to step down but Mark Taylor defended the CEO’s handling of the ball-tampering crisis.
“Coming back to cricket is going to be hard for all of them,” Chappell said on Channel 9’s Sports Sunday. “Because to be a top-class sporting person, you’ve got to have a lot of confidence in your own ability … that’s going to be severely eroded as a player.”