Steve Smith, who has been barred from international cricket for one year by Cricket Australia due to his involvement in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town against South Africa, has received a fresh jolt with the Bangladesh Cricket Board barring the player from the upcoming Bangladesh Premier League due to objections raised by some of the franchisees. Smith, who was supposed to play for the Comilla Victorians in the tournament, was supposed to join the team in mid-January as a replacement for Shoaib Malik, the Pakistan all-rounder. Smith had made an announcement on the team’s Facebook page. However, the surprising thing is that Smith’s counterpart, David Warner, has not faced any problems and will play for the Sylhet Sixers in the tournament.
Bangladesh Cricket Board chief Nizamuddin Chowdhury, spoke about the exclusion of Smith. “The rule of the tournament is that if a franchise takes a replacement, his name should be in the list of initial players' draft. But Smith's name was not there. Some franchises raised objection about it. So we have to bar him from playing the BPL," Chowdhury said.
This would have been the third international Twenty20 league for Smith, having participated in the Caribbean Premier League and in the Global T20 League in Canada. Smith also recently signed for the Pakistan Super League, which will be played in February and March. The Bangladesh Premier League, which started in 2011, was hit by allegations of match-fixing in its early years. After a suspension, the tournament resumed in 2015 and has since been staged without serious controversy.
Smith and Warner could potentially return in the Australia squad for their series against Pakistan in March-April. Bancroft’s ban ends in December and he could make a comeback into competitive cricket in the Big Bash League.
Smith has endured a tough 2018. Following the infamous ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town against South Africa, he was banned for one year by Cricket Australia. Along with Smith, other players like Warner and Bancroft were also handed bans, with Warner also being suspended for one year while Bancroft was banned for nine months. Following his ban, all three players gave an emotional press conference on their return to Australia. Warner and Smith have continued to play club cricket in Australia. Smith and Warner are expected to return to the international arena in March 2019 and they might get a chance to play in the 2019 World Cup which will be held in England.