Former Australian Captain Steve Smith and Vice-Captain David Warner are set to play in Sydney’s first-grade cricket after getting clearance from the regional New South Wales Cricket Association (NSWCA). Steve Smith will play for the Sutherland team, while Warner will represent the Randwick-Petersham club. This would be the first time that the two will play on home soil after being banned by Cricket Australia for their involvement in ball-tampering in South Africa.
Both players will play their opening games on 22 September. Sutherland will take on Mosman, while the Randwick-Petersham club will face St. George in their opening fixture of the tournament, as reported on the Cricket Australia (CA) website.
The duo would look forward to playing on home turf and try to win back the trust of the home fans while serving their year-long ouster from international, state and the Big Bash League.
According to the schedule released on the CA website, the duo might face off against each other when Sutherland take on Randwick-Petersham on November 10. This would not be the first time that the duo would play against each other since the ball-tampering debacle at Cape Town in March. During the course of the ban, both Smith and Warner have played in domestic T20 leagues in Canada and West Indies.
Smith played for the Toronto Nationals that was beaten by Warner’s Winnipeg Hawks in the Global T20 Canada tournament league match. Both players will lock horns on Friday, 17 August when the Smith’s Barbados Tridents host Warner’s St. Lucia. Since their return to cricket in June, Warner has also played in the Northern Strike League, which also featured Cameron Bancroft who received a nine-month ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering episode.
While Smith and Warner received their clearances, Bancroft will also turn up for his club side Willetton in the Western Australia Premier League.
The CA while handing down its ban statement to the players had said that it will encourage them to play grade cricket to keep in touch with the game.
Steve Smith, who has not played international cricket since March, surpassed Virat Kohli in the ICC’s Test player rankings after the Indian Captain was forced to sit out in the second test against England due to a sore back.