BPL 2019

A question mark hangs over Steven Smith’s participation in overseas T20 League

Photo: Scott Barbour / Getty Images

Steve Smith could be barred from playing in an overseas Twenty20 competition after having his eligibility thrown into question.

A question mark hangs over axed Australia captain Steven Smith’s participation in the 2019 Bangladesh Premier League, following a meeting on Tuesday that ended in a deadlock.

Jalal Yunus, the BPL’s technical committee chairman who held the meeting with BPL franchise representatives, said that he asked the BCB to take a final decision on whether Smith will be eligible for the T20 tournament that begins on January 5.

Smith was signed up by Comilla Victorians as a replacement for Asela Gunaratne. However, the problem with Smith’s inclusion is that he was picked from outside the draft, which goes against the laws of the BPL. The matter has now been referred to the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

“We have referred the issue to the Bangladesh Cricket Board,” Jalal Yunus, the BPL technical committee chairman, told Cricbuzz on Tuesday (December 11) following a meeting with the franchises.

“At first Rangpur Riders raised the issue but later other franchises joined them and informed about their reservation. So it turned out difficult for us to solve so we referred the issue to the board to solve it. We will take the decision in the next board meeting or we will inform it to them [Victorians] soon.

Yunus said that Comilla were allowed to contract Smith with a view to enhance the league’s appeal, but the other franchises objected to this bending of the rules, putting his participation under a cloud.

“To be honest they are not entitled to take any player outside the draft if they are replacing someone. They have to take it from the draft (in case a player is being replaced) but we obliged to their request of recruiting Steven Smith taking larger picture into consideration. But now it seem that cannot be implemented after the objection of other franchises unless BCB comes up with any other solution,” Yunus added.

The Australian was supposed to arrive after the departure of Malik, who will join the Pakistan team for the limited-overs leg of their series against South Africa which begins from January 19.

Smith, along with fellow Australian David Warner, is currently serving a 12-month ban for his role in the ball-tampering controversy in the Cape Town Test. Warner joined Sylhet Sixers for the upcoming edition of BPL and was named as the captain of the team.

Smith excited to be part of BPL

Australia’s former captain Steve Smith was signed by Comilla Victorions in the Bangladesh Premier League. The fans are obviously excited at the opportunity to watch one of the world’s top batsman play in action and Smith himself had a message for the Bangladesh fans after joining BPL franchise Comilla Victorians.

“Hi Bangladesh! Very excited to be part of the Bangladesh Premier League for the first time,” the Australia batsman said in a video that was shared by Comilla Victorians.

“I look forward to getting over there and being part of a very successful campaign,” he concluded.

Smith, who was embroiled in a ball-tampering scandal which rocked Australia Cricket was relieved of the captaincy of the Australia team following the incident and is currently serving a ban. Yesterday, Comilla coach Mohamad Salahuddin had confirmed to The Daily Star that the star batsman will be available after the first four matches.

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