Thu. May 26th, 2022

Cricket Australia’s decision to reject Steve Smith’s desire to play in the Big Bash has reached extraordinary new heights, and another bid to allow Smith to represent the Sydney Sixers in the BBL finals was rejected.

It came after another Sixers player was ruled out of Wednesday night’s semi-final at SCG.

Australian wicket-keeper-batsman Josh Philippe was the latest to be ruled out of their showdown with the Strikers.

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Already without Jack and Mickey Edwards due to Covid-19, the tournament’s BBL wicket-keeper was the latest to contract the virus.

That left the Sydney Sixers with a little talent to choose from, and they were forced to call on assistant coach Jay Lenton into the squad.

It is understood that CA gave the Sixers an exception to play because the wicket-keeper position is a specialist role.

As one source noted, had Smith been the goalkeeper, he would have been allowed to play.

Former Thunder wicketkeeper Jay Lenton appears to be playing for the Sydney Sixers after Josh Philippe was ruled out.  Photo: AAP
Former Thunder wicketkeeper Jay Lenton appears to be playing for the Sydney Sixers after Josh Philippe was ruled out. Photo: AAPSource: AAP

Lenton is no novice with the gloves. The Manly wicket-keeper spent years with the Sydney Thunder and is a practical left-handed player with the bat.

But for a competition that lacks any stellar power, CA’s tough stance of not allowing Smith to play because he was not in the original squad seems an extraordinary stance.

It can be revealed that the Sixers made a penultimate gasp bid on Smith to play earlier on Wednesday.

It was suggested that each of the remaining three clubs – not just the Sixers – could add a player to their squad.

But after consulting with the states, Cricket Australia rejected the 11-hour proposal, citing the precedent they set last week as the primary reason.

There was also uncertainty about how the clubs would choose their players. What if the Strikers and Scorchers would choose the same cricketer?

In the end, the Sixers submission was flat-battered, leaving them to search for other options at the top of the list.

CA says the integrity of the competition would be compromised if the rules were broken to allow Smith to play.

Still, the same BBL competition has allowed players to play for multiple teams due to the Covid-19 outbreak, which has wreaked havoc on the competition.

Steve Smith has been ruled out of action for the Sydney Sixers. AAP imageSource: AAP

While other Test players remained under contract on the BBL sides during the Ashes, Smith chose not to sign a deal and take a spot on the Sixers’ roster.

“At the start of the season, he chose not to go for a contract unlike some other guys, and give other guys in the squad the opportunity to be part of the Sixers and feel like part of the Sixers with a contract,” Australian all-rounder Sean Abbott said.

Abbott said the BBL inadvertently punished its fans by keeping Smith on the sidelines.

“It’s disappointing,” he said.

“If I was someone who sat at home and could not get to Big Bash, I would definitely like to see Steve Smith go out there and play for the Sixers. “

Sixers captain Moises Henriques described the decision as “sad for cricket”.

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