EXCLUSIVE: Glenn McGrath BACKS David Warner to captain Australia again despite opener’s role in sandpaper scandal as cricket great insists ‘he’s paid his price and deserves a go’
Glenn McGrath believes that David Warner deserves the chance to captain Australia after paying a heavy price for his role in the Sandpapergate scandal in 2018.
Four years ago, Cricket Australia (CA) banned the former Test vice-captain was banned from any leadership over his part in the Cape Town ball tampering affair.
During the third Test match of the series against South Africa at Newlands, Warner and former Australia captain Steve Smith directed batter Cameron Bancroft to tamper the ball using a piece of sandpaper.
David Warner was banned from captaining Australia in any format of the game for his role in the Sandpaper-gate scandal back in 2018
But the cameras caught Bancroft hiding the piece of sandpaper in his pocket, triggering a scandal that rocked Australian cricket to its core.
The trio were all banned from the game, with Smith from holding any captaincy roles for two years, while then-coach Darren Lehmann stepped down.
As part of the sanctions, CA also insisted Warner should receive a lifetime suspension from captaincy roles.
Earlier this week, however, the body passed an amendment to its code of conduct, which will allow Warner to request a review of the sanction.
Pat Cummins’ role as captain of the Test and ODI doesn’t appear under any threat, with the Aussie quick replacing Finch in the latter role in September.
But with Aaron Finch potentially set to hand over the reins as skipper of the T20 team following a dismal World Cup on home soil, Warner has been touted as a potential replacement.
And McGrath believes that the New South Welshman should be given the chance to throw his hat in the ring for a captaincy role.
The Aussie batsman was among those banned along with Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith
‘I think the way Cricket Australia has handled the situation has left the door open for Warner [to become captain in any format],’ the former fast bowler told Daily Mail Australia.
‘I think they [Warner, Smith and Bancroft] have paid their price.
‘They have paid a heavier price than any other cricketer that’s been done for ball tampering and if that [captaining Australia] is something David Warner wants to do and the powers that be are happy, then good luck to him.’
Warner and Steve Smith were found to have been the instigators of the plot during the Test
Bancroft (pictured) was caught applying sandpaper to the ball to try to induce reverse swing during the third Test against South Africa in 2018
‘He’s definitely a player who plays with passion and emotion and is aggressive, but I think he’s paid his price and deserves a go.’
This week, Warner hit out at the drawn out process that preceded CA’s code of conduct review, which was first raised nine months ago, insisting he was ‘not a criminal’.
The 36-year-old also argued the fallout from the ball-tampering scandal had been ‘traumatic’ for his family and that he deserved the right to appeal the ban.
Warner said the leadership ban had been a traumatic experience for him
Glenn McGrath believes the 36-year-old should be allowed to captain Australia
McGrath agrees, noting Warner, Smith and Bancroft have served their time, but admits the scandal will remain as a stain on Australian cricket.
‘I think if we could go back in time, it would be great to get rid of what happened over there,’ he said.
‘It was definitely a low point in Australian cricket, there’s no doubt about that. But I think they have all learnt a big lesson.’
Test Match Special Live – The Ashes Special, with Jonathan Agnew and Glenn McGrath, tours the UK from April 5. For tickets and venue information visit www.fane.co.uk/TMS