Australian hard-hitting batsman David Warner on Thursday expressed his gratitude towards Sylhet Sixers after being appointed as their skipper for the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League in a tough time of his career.
The BPL franchise unveiled Warner as their captain for the forthcoming season of the Twenty20 competition in a programme at city hotel in the capital, despite his role in the ball-tampering scandal last year.
The former Test vice-captain of Australia is currently serving a 12-month ban from international and state cricket for his role in the scandal during the third Test in South Africa at Cape Town in March.
He was blamed as the instigator of an incident in which fielder Cameron Bancroft attempted to alter the ball with a piece of yellow sandpaper.
Warner, along with Steve Smith, the then captain of Australia team was sent home in disgrace.
’I am extremely grateful for leading this side,’ Warner told reporters after he was introduced as captain by Sylhet coach Waqar Younis.
’For me, it’s making sure we, as a whole, not as a captain, as a support staff and management can get the best out of the players.
’We will have to establish the best XI when we will be out of the park and making sure that we will do the right things at the training before we went out to the park,’ he said.
’So from where I stand, it’s leading from the front and making sure I am doing my job right which is scoring runs and leading the guys on the park,’ he added.
Warner led Sunrisers Hyderabad to Indian Premier League title in 2016 before being dumped by the franchise in the wake of his scandal, now known as Sandpaper Gate.
Warner believed that his previous experience of playing in this part of the world would help him adapt to the conditions quickly and also expected a great competitive tournament with the likes Chris Gayle, AB de Villiers, Smith and Sunil Narine featuring for other teams.
’If you look at the lists of some of the other teams, they [fans] are not here to see just me. I am very excited to be here and to be part of it.
Warner claimed that his ban for ball-tampering came as a boon for him in one sense as it allowed him to spend more time with family.
’For me life was good. I have been spending time at home with family. I would not be able to do that if I wasn’t sitting on the sidelines,’ he said.
’But for me, it’s about getting the best out of me and growing as a good human being. But my most important thing was being a father and a husband at home.
’Now it’s down to playing cricket again and put the Sixers at top of the table.’
Apart from playing in the BPL, Warner was also welcomed by Sunrisers for next IPL in March, which he hoped would help him push for his selection for the one-day World Cup in United Kingdom in June-July.
’It is up to the selectors whether or not they want to pick me,’ said Warner.
’At the end of the day, all I can do is score runs in this tournament and the IPL, keep putting my hand up and making sure that I am the best person I can be,’ he added.
The BPL would run from January 5 to February 8.