David Warner has stepped down from his position as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad, the Indian Premier League team he has represented since 2014.
With the decision, Warner joined Steve Smith, one of the two others – Cameron Bancroft is the third – to be axed from the Australian Test squad in South Africa following the ball-tampering scandal, to give up leadership roles in the IPL. Smith had earlier been replaced as captain of Rajasthan Royals by Ajinkya Rahane.
A Sunrisers Hyderabad spokesperson confirmed the development: “In light of recent events, David Warner has stepped down as captain of Sunrisers Hyderabad. The new captain of the team will be announced shortly.”
Warner was made captain at Sunrisers Hyderabad in 2015 in place of Shikhar Dhawan, and ended up being the team’s highest scorer, with 562 runs. The following season, he scored 848 runs as he led his team to the title. Ahead of the 2018 season, Warner was one of two players retained by the franchise, Bhuvneshwar Kumar the other.
It was unclear if Warner would continue to be a part of the team, like Rajasthan Royals have said Smith would be. But that announcement had come before Cricket Australia announced that Smith, Warner and Bancroft were being removed from the Test squad in South Africa.
Speaking to reporters in Kolkata, Wriddhiman Saha, the Indian Test team wicketkeeper and a member of Sunrisers Hyderabad, said, “If he is not there, the team is strong enough to replace him. If Warner is there, it will be great obviously. He has batted superbly for SRH in the last few years and as captain has done well too. But I feel, we have replacements to fill his void. It may not be 100 per cent as he is a quality player, but we can try and fill the gap.”
As such, the team has senior players in Kane Williamson, Shakib Al Hasan and Dhawan, who could all be contenders for the leader’s position. The 11th edition of the IPL begins on April 7.