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Disgraced Warner to play Sydney club cricket

© AFP | Australian cricketer David Warner attends a press conference at the Sydney Cricket Ground (SCG) in Sydney on March 31, 2018, after returning from South Africa.Former Australia vice-captain David Warner apologised in tears on March 31 for his role in a ball-tampering scandal and said he would weigh up an appeal against his 12-month ban.

SYDNEY (AFP) - 

Disgraced former Australian vice-captain David Warner will start his road to redemption by playing club cricket with Sydney's Randwick Petersham, officials said.

The opener is serving a year-long ban from state and international cricket for his part in a plan to use sandpaper to tamper with the ball during the third Test in South Africa in March.

But he is free to play at club level and is set to make a return to the field in September.

Randwick Petersham club president Mike Whitney, a former Test fast bowler, said Warner will play in at least three of the first four matches of the season.

"We're delighted to have him. He's one of the best players Australia has had since World War II," he told the local Southern Courier newspaper on Wednesday.

"He's been speaking to one of our club officials and he has committed to the first three or four rounds of the season. Why it is only three or four rounds at this stage I don't know."

Warner has also been linked with playing in the Northern Territory's limited-overs Strike League.

Whitney, who played 12 Tests for Australia, said he emailed Warner shortly after he was banned in April to tell him the door was open.

"Everyone is excited to have him. He will be great in the changing rooms with younger players," Whitney said.

Warner has been on the books at Randwick Petersham since 2013-14, but has rarely played due to state, international and Indian Premier League commitments.

He was identified as the mastermind behind the plan to tamper with the ball.

While former skipper Steve Smith was charged with knowledge of the plot, Warner was charged with developing it and instructing Cameron Bancroft to carry it out.

Earlier this week, Bancroft was cleared to play club cricket in Western Australia while serving his suspension. Smith's plans are not yet known.

New national coach Justin Langer has indicated he will welcome all three back into the team once their bans are served, if their form justifies selection.

© 2018 AFP