Steve Smith may return to competitive cricket as early as next month. Defamed and suspended former Australian captain has been named among the ten marquee players for the Global T20 Canada league.
Cricket Canada has announced the global professional league for T20 cricket on Thursday, May 24.
Smith has been named among the 10 marquee players, along with Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Shahid Afridi, Darren Sammy, Lasith Malinga, Sunil Narine, Chris Lynn, David Miller and Dwayne Bravo. The international cricket stars will head the field of global cricket talent that will headline Global T20 Canada, a new professional league in the Twenty20 format.
Smith along with vice-captain David Warner was banned by Cricket Australia (CA) for 12 months for his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal during South Africa tour. He was also stripped of the Australian captaincy for two years. Cameron Bancroft, caught on camera tampering with the ball, was banned from playing for nine months and from captaincy for 12 months after the completion of his ban.
The ban prohibits him from playing at state or national levels, and in Big Bash cricket. CA is reportedly supportive of the opportunity for Smith to take part in the tournament.
Along with the players, Cricket Canada and Mercuri Canada revealed the mark, teams and venue for the league, the first to be fully staged in North America and set to run from June 28 to July 15.
Global T20 Canada will consist of six teams, five representing Canadian cities – Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks – with a sixth, Cricket West Indies representative team, consisting entirely the Caribbean players, as part of an official partnership with Cricket West Indies.
Speaking about this association, Cricket West Indies (CWI) President, Dave Cameron, said, “On behalf of CWI, I would like to wish Global T20 Canada much success. The growth of our region will largely depend on the success of leagues and tournaments like this. We support Cricket Canada and look forward to working even closer going forward, so congratulations and all the best to Cricket Canada and Mercuri Group.”
Teams will be stocked with players through a draft that will take place on May 30. Four roster spots will be set aside for Canadians reflecting organizers’ plan to leverage the league to develop future Canadian talent that will lead the men’s national team to success in international competitions, in both the Twenty20 and Test formats.
The league will comprise 22 matches culminating in playoffs and the championship match on July 16. All contests will take place at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, a cricket-specific facility just north of Toronto that will be expanded to a capacity of 7,000 seats.
“Global T20 Canada marks the first time a nation with associate member status is launching a league – a major step forward in cricket’s global development,” says Ranjit Saini, President, Cricket Canada. “Canadian cricket fans will have a great opportunity to see up close many of the world’s greatest players, and I’d like to thank International Cricket Council, CWI and the international cricket community for their guidance and support in growing cricket in Canada.”
As the newest international league in the format, Global T20 Canada joins a growing list of competitions in India, Australia, Pakistan, Bangladesh, and the Caribbean. Driven by the success of Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash, the Twenty20 format has exploded in popularity with its pageantry, colour, pop culture elements, and shorter match duration. Mercuri Canada, which signed a 25-year deal with Cricket Canada to manage and operate the league, plans to grow and develop the league to one day rival its global counterparts.
League broadcast partners, the broadcast schedule and ticket information will be announced in the coming days.