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Warne not amused with Steve Smith’s return to leadership role

Australian spin wizard Shane Warne is not amused with the fact that while former captain Steve Smith can return to the leadership role, David Warner would remain suspended from captaining or vice-captaining his country again during his cricketing career.

Smith, who has served a one-year ban for his involvement in ball-tampering in 2018, was appointed vice-captain of the Australian Test side ahead of the Ashes series, beginning at the Gabba in Brisbane on December 8.

In the aftermath of the ball-tampering, also called ‘Sandpaper-gate’, that took place during the third Test against South Africa at Newlands in Cape Town in 2018, the then Australian skipper Smith, his deputy David Warner and team-mate Cameron Bancroft were banned for different periods of time.

In addition to a one-year suspension, a two-year leadership ban was also imposed on Smith, while Warner, who was the then vice-captain, also received a year ban, as well as a lifetime leadership ban.

Warne is not happy with the dichotomy in punishment for the same crime.

He made his displeasure known by slamming the fact while Smith could return to a leadership position Warner would remain suspended from taking up the leadership role of the Australian team.

“We all love Steve Smith and are proud that he’s the best Test batsmen in the world again,” Warne wrote in his column for the Herald Sun on Saturday. “But he should not be the Australian vice-captain.

“Everyone makes mistakes, we know that and we’ve all moved on from sandpaper-gate. But that happened under Steve Smith’s captaincy; he allowed that to happen on his watch. I think the punishment he was given was way too severe, which I said at the time. He paid a huge price for his mistake.

“But his second chance is getting to play for Australia again and in my opinion announcing him as vice-captain opens up CA (Cricket Australia) for ridicule and criticism, and they should throw the code of conduct out the window.”

Warne also said that Warner had the “the best cricket brain in the team” and demanded Marnus Labuschagne to be named vice-captain.

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