May 25, 2018
Steve Smith’s comeback to cricket has begun, with the suspended former Australia skipper named as a marquee player in Canada’s T20 league, where he will join fellow international stars, including Chris Gayle, Andre Russell and Shahid Afridi in the six-team tournament beginning on 28 June.
The 28-year-old was stripped of the captaincy and handed a 12-month suspension from international cricket for his role in the Cape Town Test ball-tampering scandal in March. He admitted having knowledge of the plan but failed to stop Cameron Bancroft using sandpaper to tamper with the ball on the third day of the third Test against South Africa.
Smith is also banned for two years from holding a leadership position within the Australian team and he must undertake 100 hours of voluntary service in community cricket. The ban for breaching Cricket Australia’s code of conduct extended to state matches but permitted Smith to play domestic tournaments outside Australia.
The Global T20 Canada consists of five Canadian teams and a Cricket West Indies representative team, made up entirely of players from the Caribbean. A draft to determine who plays where will be held next week.
Bancroft, along with former vice-captain David Warner, have also begun their comebacks after also being suspended over the scandal. Former Test opener Bancroft, who is serving a nine-month suspension, will play for WA club side Willetton next season. Meanwhile, Warner – banned for 12 months – is committed to play a handful of Sydney grade cricket matches with Randwick Petersham.