Australian cricket – Nick Hockley defends CA’s handling of David Warner’s appeal process

Nick Hockley named permanent Cricket Australia chief executive after interim role for a year

Cricket Australia chief executive Nick Hockley has defended his organisation’s handling of David Warner’s appeal against his leadership ban amid claims CA lost control of the situation. Hockley said the independent review panel was required to make the process “fair and transparent”.

On Friday, the Australian Cricketers’ Association (ACA) said that Warner had been left with no choice but to withdraw the bid to have his lifetime leadership ban – imposed after the Newlands Test in 2018 – overturned after the independent review panel decided the hearing would be public. Warner dropped a dramatic statement on the eve of the second Test against West Indies were he claimed that the review panel had wanted a “public lynching” by effectively putting the events of Newlands through a retrial.

Hockley said that the welfare of Warner and his family would have been at the forefront of the process and added that there could have been submissions made to have certain parts of the hearing in private. He also reiterated that the hearing would not have been a re-run of events at Newlands in 2018 despite Warner’s suggestion. But, he said, “there had to be a level of transparency” to the process.

“We’re disappointed that he’s chosen to withdraw his application,” Hockley said. “This is not the outcome that we wanted. The fact it has become such a public thing is entirely contrary to what we were hoping to achieve. Clearly David has felt the need to say some things. This was not about looking the original events or original sanction, it was about reviewing behaviour since.

“There is a huge amount of public interest in this, clearly, and the commissioners felt that it was appropriate for there to be a level of transparency. The alternative to putting in place a proper process is to make reactive decisions. That is not appropriate around matters of integrity. I make no apology that we’ve engaged with the best people, that we have best in class governance and we run a proper, fair, independent process.”

Speaking separately to SEN radio, Hockley said that the door was not closed on Warner resubmitting a bid to have the ban overturned but Todd Greenberg, the chief executive of the ACA, had earlier told the same radio station the events of the last 48 hours were a likely end point.

“I don’t think anyone, let alone Dave and his family, has an appetite to drag this out longer than it has,” Greenberg said. “I think there’s a clear full stop on the end of this one.

“The code of conduct amendments were designed for the review application not to be an appeal of the original offence. It was nothing like that. The process became a long way removed from one to which David agreed to participate. That’s ultimately where we landed. That’s why I don’t think David had much choice but to do what he did.”

Greenberg added that he had hoped the review of Warner’s ban could have been undertaken by CA itself and that if this had been the likely outcome, the process may not have been started in the first place.

“I appreciate complexities of codes of conduct but ultimately governing bodies are designed to govern,” he said. “And on this occasion the moment it was outsourced to an independent panel control was lost and thus we end up in the position where we sit here today.

“I hoped, maybe naively, that the question around leadership would be decided by the governing body who originally took the leadership away but sadly, nine months on, with the benefit of hindsight, we may never have asked the question if we knew what the answer would look like.”

“It would be a fair understatement for me to say we are not unbelievably frustrated. We are very frustrated, not just for David and his family, but also his team-mates who I know are really annoyed about this process, that it has been allowed to drag into the Test summer.”

Greenberg would not be drawn on the comments made by Warner’s manager, James Erskine, about the players being told to tamper with the ball in 2016 but said that a public hearing into Newlands “would be a waste of time, energy and resources”.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo

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