The next stop in Steve Smith’s comeback tour has been cancelled as the suspended superstar prepares to break his eight-month silence.
Smith has been ruled ineligible to take his place for Comilla Victorians in next month’s Bangladesh Premier League.
Unlike Sylhet Sixers captain David Warner, the exiled Australian batsman wasn’t part of the T20 tournament’s original draft.
This means Comilla wasn’t technically allowed to sign Smith as a replacement player for Pakistani batsman Shoaib Malik.
“The rule of the tournament is that if a franchise takes a replacement, his name should be in the list of initial players’ draft. But Smith’s name was not there,” Bangladesh Cricket Board chief Nizamuddin Chowdhury said.
“Some franchises raised objection about it. So we have to bar him from playing the BPL.”
But there are reports Comilla intends to appeal the Bangladesh cricket board’s decision.
Even if it fails, Smith has plenty of cricket ahead of him with planned stints in the Pakistan Super League and Indian Premier League before a likely return to Australia’s ODI squad.
Smith will speak to media at the SCG prior to the Sydney Sixers’ training session on Friday, marking his first interview in Australia since his tearful press conference at Sydney airport in March.
Australia’s former skipper has made few public appearances while serving a 12-month ban for his role in the Cape Town cheating scandal.
However, Smith’s battle for redemption returned to the headlines after a Vodafone campaign he is spearheading was launched during Wednesday night’s Big Bash League season opener.
“I was in a pretty dark space … I’ve certainly had some difficult days,” Smith says in the advertisement (see below).
“But it’s OK to be vulnerable. Everyone makes mistakes.
“It’s about the way you respond to it that’s really important. I want to come back better than I was.”
Smith is expected to be overseas for the MCG and SCG Tests, which overlap with a mid-season break in Sydney grade cricket.
The 29-year-old recently helped his Sydney club Sutherland win a Twenty20 final at the SCG while Tim Paine’s side battled India in the second Test.
Smith has been regularly training with NSW teammates at the SCG in recent months, while he caught up with national coach Justin Langer last month.
The widespread expectation is that Smith will be part of Australia’s World Cup and Ashes defence in England next year.