Steve Smith says David Warner’s lifetime leadership ban is “fundamentally wrong”, conceding the ongoing saga has been a distraction for the Australian opener.
- Smith says Warner has “served his time”
- Warner has withdrawn his bid to have his leadership ban overturned
- The Australian opener is in a form slump ahead of the South Africa three-Test series
Warner’s withdrawn bid to have his suspension lifted threatened to turn the Adelaide Test into a sideshow before Australia wrapped up a 419-run win over West Indies on Sunday.
He has now given up any chance of one day returning to a captaincy position, after furiously taking back his application for the ban to be reviewed after an independent panel pushed for a public hearing.
Warner and Smith both received one-year suspensions following the 2018 ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town.
Smith was also handed an additional 12-month ban from any leadership position.
But Warner was dealt with in a harsher manner, banned from leadership roles with Australian teams for life.
He initially had no chance of any appeal once the ban was accepted, before Cricket Australia changed its code of conduct last month.
“From my point of view, banning for life from leadership is just fundamentally wrong,” said Smith, who served as Australia’s stand-in captain in Adelaide.
“David served his time like I did.
“For us, we know he’s a leader around the group, and on and off the field he’s doing a tremendous job.
“It’s been a difficult one for him, it’s been a difficult week. David has said he’s done and dusted [with the appeal] and get on with it.”
Smith said Warner had been distracted during the series against West Indies.
“It has been more of a distraction for Davey, no doubt, going through that himself,” Smith said.
“He’s got our full support. Hopefully he can have a really big series for us against South Africa with the bat.”
Warner desperately needs runs in the upcoming three-Test series against South Africa, which starts on Saturday.
He made scores of 5, 48, 21 and 21 against West Indies, routinely getting out to balls wide outside off stump.
His Test century drought now extends to January 2020 and spans 25 innings.
The left-hander has previously indicated he wanted to tour both India and England next year before retiring from Test cricket.
Smith said he had faith that Warner could recapture his best form.
“For me it’s in his body language the way he goes out there. He’s really positive and just in a good frame of mind,” Smith said.
“Particularly yesterday when he went out to bat he was in a good frame of mind, the way his feet were moving was really sharp.
“He’s batting well, so no real concerns there.”