Cricket Australia CEO Kevin Roberts said they have no plans of dumping David Warner despite unflattering statements given by both his partners Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith, who were involved in the ball-tampering scandal earlier this year. In recent interviews given by both of them, they stated that the former vice-captain was the instigator of the ill-fated plan in Cape Town. Some ex-players have interpreted these comments as effectively making Warner the fall guy with Michael Slater saying that it would be difficult for him to return to the team.
But Roberts denied then skipper Smith and Bancroft’s statements would affect Warner’s chance of being brought back into the Australian fold.
“I don’t know if it does (make it harder for Warner). Our focus is to work with Dave, whom I spoke to about three days ago, on his integration plan when he is eligible for selection again,” Roberts told ‘SEN sports radio’.
“Our focus is on how we pro-actively look forward and work with the players, rather than be concerned with what has happened in the past,” Roberts said the timing of the interviews wasn’t ideal, given that they have overshadowed the crucial third Test against India with the series tied 1-1, according to the radio station.
He also said nothing new came out of the interviews of Smith and Bancroft, given an investigation had previously pointed to Warner as the mastermind and he had admitted responsibility for his part.
Smith had said former CA CEO James Sutherland and high-performance boss Pat Howard told the team they were being paid to win, not to play.
On this, Roberts said, “Our goal will always to be to win, let’s make no mistake, but our non-negotiable expectation is that we compete with honour.” Smith had sought to distance himself from the plot to rough up the ball by sandpaper in a Test against South Africa in Cape Town while admitting he failed as a captain by turning a blind eye.
Bancroft, on his part, said Wednesday that he committed the offence on the insistence of Warner and he did it to “fit in” and feel “valued” in the team”.
(With PTI inputs)