BBL shortsighted decision banning Steve Smith from the Sixers

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BBL shortsighted decision banning Steve Smith from the Sixers

BBL shortsighted decision banning Steve Smith from the Sixers

January 26, 2022

Author 77baji

The most immediate impact on revitalising the Big Bash League (BBL), a competition that is arguably losing its way, would be to increase the availability of international players. However, Steve Smith's refusal to play in the BBL this weekend reflects the league's inability to attract foreign talent.

The decision to ban Steve Smith from playing for the Sydney Sixers appears to have been made with the other franchises' interest in finals success in mind, rather than the BBL's overall health.

The Sydney Sixers lost their first final to the Perth Scorchers over the weekend, but the main talking point leading up to the game was Steve Smith's unusual absence due to a rule technicality.

Meanwhile, a slew of other Test players returned to the league last week for the BBL's triple-header on Wednesday, sparking renewed interest in the league.

Nathan Lyon has rejoined the Sixers, while Scott Boland has rejoined the Hobart Hurricanes. Marnus Labuschagne, Jhye Richardson, and Usman Khawaja played for the Brisbane Heat, Perth Scorchers, and Sydney Thunder. Travis Head and Alex Carey were welcomed back to the Adelaide Strikers squad.

The BBL resumed in the first week of December, so these players only returned to the competition last week. There is room to change the schedule to accommodate international stars.

Having access to quality international players raises the level of cricket played and inject goodwill into the game. Star players with whom fans identify are desperately needed.

The league is also having trouble recreating the cult heroes of the past, and there is a dip in outgoing Australian players who return to the BBL after retirement.

Each club is authorised to hire a maximum of six foreign players, but only three are allowed to compete in each match.

There is room to increase the number of foreign players allowed, particularly from the subcontinent and England. During the Australian summer, these regions will not be hosting home seasons.

Steve Smith was left off the Sydney Sixers' roster for this season, but with Australia's ODI series against New Zealand postponed, he was free to play in the BBL.

Smith applied to play for the Sixers in Australia last weekend if he wasn't already on the roster. However, the application was denied after other states voted against him playing, California backed up a decision.

He was caught off guard by the new rule, which was implemented on January 10th. Due to player shortages caused by Covid-19, BBL franchises can only use players from a pool of local replacements in the league's Melbourne base.