Karl reacts to Nine’s ‘astounding’ call
AUSTRALIA is readying itself for David Warner's return to cricket - in a very different capacity to what fans are used to seeing.
Less than three months into his year-long ban from international and domestic cricket for his role in the ball tampering scandal that also claimed the scalps of Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft, cricket lovers will get to hear from the opening batsman when he commentates for Channel 9 during Australia's ODI tour of England.
Warner will join the network in time for the second clash between the two sides in Cardiff on Saturday night, where he'll be able to offer an insight into players he was sharing a dressing room with last summer.
While some on social media have said it's too soon for Warner to be welcomed back into the cricket family - even in a broadcasting sense - Nine sports presenter Tim Gilbert feels differently.
Speaking on Tuesday's episode of Today, Gilbert and co-host Karl Stefanovic discussed Warner's impending arrival at the network.
"We've been criticised by some. I don't understand why," Gilbert said. "He has been banned from playing cricket, I get that. But has he been banned from earning money, banned from working? He's got a family - and really?
"He has been an extraordinary cricketer. He did the wrong thing. They've owned up, 'fessed up, hands up in the air and they're banned - not banned from any commentary boxes.
"I'm sure plenty of people at home are going to have an opinion on this but I can't see the criticism."
Stefanovic pointed out an awkward truth about what Warner's TV stint will uncover. At a press conference after returning from South Africa the left-hander was widely slammed for failing to answer questions about the scandal, but in the commentary box he'll have nowhere to hide.
"I can't wait to hear from him," Stefanovic said. "It's going to be a chance for whoever is in the commentary box with him to question him and to ask him questions about what happened (in South Africa) and how his thought process is.
"It's an astounding appointment. I can't wait for it.
Nine's director of sport Tom Malone said Warner was the perfect fit for the network's commentary team.
"Dave is the best one-day and T20 batsman of the past decade so he's perfectly placed to join our coverage for the UK series," Malone said.
"People have tried to paint Dave as the villain in all this, but he's been hurting as much as the others.
"He just wants to atone for his mistakes and move on - I hope Australia gives all of them that chance."
In the immediate aftermath of the cheating scandal that rocked Australian cricket, Stefanovic took exception to Cricket Australia CEO James Sutherland refusing to use the word "cheating" when addressing the matter.
"It's cheating plan and simple. Planned, premeditated cheating," Stefanovic said on Today in March.
"Whether you know about it or not in leadership there's responsibility. Mistakes have been made. Admit them. Own them. Deal with them. Accept the consequences and move on.
"There needs to be a clear message sent to every player, every fan, every young boy and girl in this country who loves sport that this behaviour will not be tolerated."
Australia begins its first international assignment under new coach Justin Langer on Wednesday night (AEST) in the first of five ODIs against the Poms. Captained by Tim Paine, the new-look side is light on experience with fast bowlers Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins and Josh Hazlewood all missing because of injury.