5 possible overseas tournaments Steve Smith and David Warner are eligible to play during ban

  • Steve Smith and David Warner have been handed out 12-month bans by Cricket Australia
  • The disgraced duo will not be allowed to play in Australia’s domestic competitions, including the Big Bash League
  • Both former leaders could seek opportunities to play in overseas tournaments and keep their respective careers on track

Considering the turn of events in the last few days, it is a bit of an understatement to say that the ball-tampering scandal has well and truly shaken the very foundation of Australian cricket. The fiasco has already consumed former leaders Steve Smith and David Warner, while also putting an end to young opener Cameron Bancroft’s international aspirations for a good period of nine months.

Amid widespread condemnation stretching beyond the boundaries of sport, the trio has now been sent back home from Australia’s tour of South Africa with pictures emerging of disgraced former captain Steve Smith even being hounded by disgruntled fans on his way back home.

Smith, Warner and Bancroft have subsequently issued personal apologies for their respective roles in the ugly ball tampering scandal but the general consensus is that the damage has already been done. With Smith and Warner, Australia’s two batting pillars in recent years, banished for at least 12 months, the Kangaroos are now left facing the great unknown. Rightfully, the on-field implications have been neglected but the team’s uncertain future will come back into focus when the fourth Test against South Africa starts on Friday.

It has also been revealed by Cricket Australia that in addition to their national suspension, all three players will be barred from representing their states in the Sheffield Shield during this time and cannot play in the next edition of Australia’s Big Bash League. The only realistic cricket playing opportunities that the trio can now seek pursue are overseas domestic competitions like English county cricket, the Pakistan Premier League (PSL), the Bangladesh Premier League, etc.

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Five possible overseas tournaments that Steve Smith and David Warner might seek to play during their ban

1. English County Cricket

It is now public knowledge that the disgraced duo of Steve Smith and David Warner have respectively been barred from representing the Rajasthan Royals and Sunrisers Hyderabad in IPL 2018. As a result, reports have emerged in Australian media that Smith could now seek a county cricket deal in England. It would allow the world’s No.1 Test batsman to prepare fully to defend both the World Cup and the Ashes both on the English soil but Smith will find it difficult to get a county deal as the new country season is due to start on April 13 with foreign player’s quota already in a short supply.

It is unclear if Warner will look for a similar county stint given the fact that his international career is in major jeopardy now, with the entire Aussie dressing room turning against him. His vocal position in last year’s pay dispute has also left Warner with few allies at the board level. The former vice-captain might turn out for a county in this summer’s Natwest T20 Blast though. Coming to Cameron Bancroft, the young opener already has a deal with Somerset for the upcoming English season and will certainly be available if the club allows him to do so.

2. Caribbean Premier League (CPL)

The Caribbean Premier League has shown a steady rise in viewership and cricketing standards ever since its inception in the year 2013, and after a great season last season, the upcoming season will be played between August 8 and September 16 this year. During this time frame, the Australian team might potentially be in the UAE squaring up against Pakistan. Smith, Warner and Bancroft, though, will be free and might make themselves available for a CPL stint in the coming months.

While Bancroft is yet to feature in limited-overs cricket for Australia, Smith and Warner are proven T20 performers and are likely to find plenty of suitors in the tournament if the CPL organisers approve their participation in the event.

3. Bangladesh Premier League (BPL)

The Bangladesh Premier League is yet another domestic T20 league which has grown in clout in the last two years and is witness to many a star white-ball icons from across the globe shifting base to the country in November and December. Australia are scheduled to host Indian in a high-octane series during the same time but Smith and Warner will again have to sit out as they will be serving their 12-month suspensions at that time. As such, the disgraced duo, in a bid to keep in touch with the game, can opt to play in the tournament this year.

Given David Warner’s IPL track record with the Sunrisers Hyderabad, the pocket sized dynamo might even be signed up as a potential captain by one of the BPL franchises in the 2018 edition of the tournament. Their participation, though, is again subject to approval from the Bangladesh Cricket Board.

4. T20 Global League (South Africa)

The T20 Global League (South Africa’s attempted version of the IPL) was launched amid much fanfare by Cricket South Africa last year and was scheduled to played in November. The league, though, had to be canceled and postponed indefinitely after the country’s home board failed to find appropriate sponsors to fund the tournament. Nevertheless, the league is expected to finally take flight this year and can be mooted as yet another potential destination for Smith and Warner in their time away from international cricket.

Participating in the T20 Global League will come at a huge risk for the disgraced duo as they are likely to face massive crowd backlash in the country where the whole ball-tampering saga played out last week.

5. Pakistan Super League (PSL)

A long shot at the outset but certainly within the realms of the imagination considering the recent upheaval in cricketing careers of both Smith and Warner. The Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) can now boast of having successfully organised three seasons of their own domestic T20 competition and have only witnessed a rise in the clamour amongst international superstars to come and play in the league, who have been lining up to play in the UAE. The only sticking point for the PSL so far has been the reluctance of major international stars to open up to the idea of playing a few matches in Pakistan.

Considering the predicament that Smith and Warner find themselves in, there is a real possibility that the tainted superstars might not be welcomed to play in any of the above-mentioned tournaments by the respective host cricket bodies. This is where the PCB could sense a possible opportunity to try and arm-twist the Aussie duo into agreeing to play the tournament’s knockout games in Pakistan next year.

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