Steve Smith is back in Cricket Australia’s Big Bash League for the first time in six years. The No 1 Test batsman in the ICC ranking has inked a deal with the Sydney Sixers.
He will join the team after Australia’s ODI tour of India. The 30-year-old is expected to be available for the Sixers’ final two or three games of the regular season and all of the BBL finals, if the team makes the grade.
Smith’s first game could be against the Melbourne Stars at the SCG on January 20, but should he not be right for that match he is set to come up against the Brisbane Heat and their own marquee superstar, South Africa legend AB de Villiers on January 23 at the Gabba.
Smith had led the Sixers to glory in the inaugural year of the Big Bash League during the 2011-12 season. Sixers had beaten the Perth Scorchers at the WACA Ground in the first ever Big Bash League final.
“I am excited about getting an opportunity to play for the Sydney Sixers again,” Smith said.
“When the schedule came out and I saw there was a chance to wear the Magenta again I jumped at the opportunity and look forward to joining up with the team after my January national team commitments have ended.”
He comes in for wicketkeeper Peter Nevill, who had to make way for two-time Allan Border medallist.
“In making this calculated move we will be saying goodbye to another foundation member in Peter Nevill who has given great service to the Club over many seasons,” Sixers head coach Greg Shipperd said.
“Peter enjoys the sincere respect of all within the Sixers family for the effort, energy, performance and professionalism he has displayed.
“We thank him for that wholeheartedly and wish him well.”
The Sixers have not won the BBL since Smith captained the side to victory but have come close twice, finishing runners-up in the fourth and the sixth editions.
The Sixers will start the 2019-20 season on December 18 against three-time champions Perth Scorchers at the SCG.