Smith makes a move after cricket snub
BANGLADESH Premier League side Comilla Victorians has announced the signing of former Australian captain Steve Smith for the upcoming edition of the Twenty20 tournament.
Victorians coach Mohammad Salahuddin told AFP that Smith would join the team mid-January for the second phase of the BPL as a replacement for Pakistani cricketer Shoaib Malik.
"He will come after (the) first four matches in (the) Dhaka phase and join the team in (the northeastern city of) Sylhet," he said.
"Shoaib Malik won't be able to play for the whole tournament. He will play in the first round and Steve will join after that."
Australia's ex-vice captain David Warner will also play in the BPL - which runs from January 5 to February 8, 2019 - having signed for the Sylhet Sixers.
Smith and Warner were handed year-long international bans for their roles in a ball-tampering scandal that rocked Australian cricket in March, while teammate Cameron Bancroft was given a nine-month suspension.
In the wake of a damning cultural review that called Cricket Australia out for its arrogant and controlling behaviour, the Australian Cricketers' Association lodged a submission to have the trio's bans overturned.
The ACA wanted the suspensions lifted immediately or, if that wasn't agreed to, called for Smith, Warner and Bancroft to be allowed to return to domestic cricket this summer in the Sheffield Shield and Big Bash League (BBL).
However, last week CA ruled the bans would stand in full, meaning neither Warner nor Smith will be back playing for their states of BBL franchises before the end of March.
Smith was going to take part in the UAE T20X League over the festive period but that was cancelled, and now his domestic hopes have been dashed he is free to chase time in the middle in Bangladesh.
The BPL will be Smith's third T20 league outing - after Canada's Global T20 and the Caribbean Premier League - since the ban was imposed.
He also recently signed up for the Pakistan Super League, which will be played in February and March.
Victorians coach Salahuddin was ecstatic with the Smith signing. "The balance of the team will be better. I needed an experienced batsman in the team. We needed a batsman who would understand the game situation and control the game," he said.
The BPL, 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.