The Sydney Sixers will have the services of Steve Smith for more games as few Test players will play in week one of the Big Bash League (BBL) 2022-23 finals. With the Test side not leaving for India until January 31, Cricket Australia (CA) has approved 11 members of the squad to play in the first week of the BBL finals.
Smith and David Warner returned to the BBL this season and were expected to leave their respective franchises after the regular season ended.
With the Perth Scorchers and Sydney Sixers guaranteed to play in the post-season, Smith, Nathan Lyon, and Lance Morris will be available.
Warner's Sydney Thunder have a chance to make it to the Eliminator, which will be played between the fourth and fifth-placed teams and the Knockout, involving the third-placed side and the winner of the Eliminator. The left-handed batter is likely to be available for either or both.
Adelaide Strikers' Travis Head and Alex Carey will also be available for both, as will the Brisbane Heat trio of Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, and Matt Renshaw.
"He's just a classy player from T20 right through to Test cricket" - Steve O'Keefe on Steve Smith
The past week saw Smith become the first player in BBL history to hit back-to-back centuries. Hence, his inclusion looks critical to the Sydney Sixers' path to a fourth title.
Sixers spinner Steve O’Keefe reckons the more the right-handed batter plays, the better. He was quoted as saying by Perth Now:
"He's just a classy player from T20 right through to Test cricket. He loves coming back and playing for the Sixers and passing on knowledge. The more that we can keep him playing, the better."
As part of the India tour preparations, Australia will stage a training clinic for Todd Murphy and Ashton Agar, ruling them out of the BBL finals. Heat's Mitchell Swepson and Melbourne Renegades' Peter Handscomb will also participate in the same but will be available for the Eliminator.
Australia's India tour begins with the first Test in Nagpur on February 9.
Also Read: "I do not agree that change in captaincy will bring any significant progress" - Aamer Sohail on Pakistan Cricket's struggles
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