Veteran opener David Warner will continue to play white-ball cricket for Australia but said he won’t take up a central contract if Cricket Australia offers one next year. Warner has already announced that he will end his Test career in January next year after the home series against Pakistan. The 37-year-old, who will play in his third World Cup semifinal on Thursday against South Africa, however, reiterated he is open to playing white-ball cricket for Australia until the ICC T20 World Cup in the USA and West Indies next year, and possibly till the 2025 ICC Champions Trophy in Pakistan.
He cited the examples of former Australia all-rounder Brad Hogg, West Indies’ Chris Gayle and Pakistan’s Shoaib Malik, limited-overs specialists who continued playing beyond 40.
“Everyone wants to set themselves a realistic goal. My goal is still to set my sights on playing the Twenty20 World Cup in the Caribbean first (in June next year), and I think from there I’ll probably decide what I’m going to do with white-ball cricket,” Warner told Australian media here on Tuesday.
“I’m still feeling fit. I’m very comfortable with what I’m doing. So I’ve got to sit down and look at what there is, and what I can play.” Warner, however, made it clear that he won’t take up a central contract as it would affect his participation in franchise T20 leagues across the globe and sponsorship opportunities, which is vital at this juncture of his career.
“I won’t be taking a contract, definitely not. How the system works in Australia is that if you play five (T20) games or ODIs, or three Tests, you get upgraded and then you’re legally bound by contracting system with sponsors and stuff,” he said.
“That’s something that becomes a bit of a pain in the backside, especially at my stage of my career. So I don’t want to be signed to that agreement and that’s something I have to think about moving forward, because if you’re going to get a low contract, it’s going to cost you a lot in the long run with sponsorships.
“I’ve got to sit back and have a look at what the schedule is, the (ICC) Future Tours schedule and you’ve got a Champions Trophy that’s coming up as well. So they’re potentially on my horizon,” the left-handed opener added.
Warner said he doesn’t want to deny a promising upcoming cricketer a central contract by accepting one in the twilight of his cricketing career.
“It’s very difficult to say, ‘I want to play Twenty20s and one-dayers’, but you don’t want to be taking contracts from a young kid that’s coming through,” said Warner, who is Australia’s leading run-scorer in the ongoing World Cup with 499 runs from nine innings.
“And, to be fair, it’s probably pointless me taking that contract given that I’m not going to be playing Test cricket… but you don’t want to disturb what’s happening as well.
“Twenty-year-olds now are going to have to make the decision of whether they’re going to go and play international cricket or franchise cricket,” he said.
“Fortunately enough, I’ve had a very good, successful international career and I’m at the back end where I’m able to choose that.”
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