Smith’s BBL snub is ridiculous: Sixers
The Sydney Sixers have criticized Steve Smith’s ban from the BBL final as a ridiculous decision that makes no sense.
Smith’s bid to play for the Sixers in Saturday night’s qualifying final against Perth Scorcers has been rejected by Cricket Australia (CA).
Other state franchises voted against allowing Smith to play in the qualifiers, a decision approved by CA.
Smith, an inaugural Sydney Sixer, was not on the franchise’s roster this tournament as the star batsman was expected to be unavailable due to Australian commitments.
The cancellation of Australia’s limited overs series against New Zealand opened the door to the BBL for Smith.
But CA says allowing Smith to play for the Sixers would have violated rules recently put in place regarding replacement players for teams affected by COVID-related withdrawals.
CA introduced a Local Replacement Player Pool (LRP) from which all franchises must choose any replacement.
Had Smith been placed in this group, he would have been available for any BBL franchise.
“In creating the central LRP pool, it was agreed that clubs would not be able to contract LRP outside the pool for the remainder of the season,” CA said in a statement on Friday.
“The league recognizes a request from the Sydney Sixers to sign Steven Smith as an LRP from outside the LRP pool.
“This request was denied on the basis that further adjustment to league regulations was unanimously rejected by other state associations/clubs in the interests of fairness, noting that other players returning to the BBL after their international service have been retained on club rosters throughout the competition.”
Several of Smith’s Australian teammates, including Nathan Lyon and Travis Head, have returned to their BBL clubs and will play in the final – but they have all been contracted by their franchises for the tournament.
Sixers veteran Dan Christian says Smith’s decision is “ridiculous” and goes against CA’s desire for the BBL to feature Australia’s best players.
“It doesn’t make sense to us as players…it’s really disappointing,” Christian told SEN Radio on Friday.
“One of the criticisms of the Big Bash when you look at it, having played in many competitions overseas, all the other competitions have the best local players playing.
“So the IPL played all the Indian guys, the Caribbean league played all the West Indians etc, whereas we never really had access to our Australian guys.
“And now we are going to have access to it due to the postponement of this New Zealand and Australian series and yet we are going to ban them from playing our domestic competition.
“Having someone like Steve available and then pushing him away makes no sense to me.”