Star cricketers Steven Smith and David Warner, who were recently banned by Cricket Australia for a year, will take part in the T20 Caribbean Premier League starting on Wednesday, August 8. Smith will play for Barbados Tridents while Warner will participate with the St. Lucia Stars. Both players were banned by Cricket Australia for a full year for their respective roles in a ball tampering incident that took place earlier this year. Another cricketer, Cameron Bancroft, was suspended for sixth months.
Smith and Warner were forced to miss the eleventh Indian Premier League as a result of their bans. The Board of Control for Cricket in India made the decision to keep them out. Both players were expected to captain their respective squads, Rajasthan Royals (Smith) and Sunrisers Hyderabad (Warner), but both teams were forced to appoint new captains instead. However, both players will be allowed to return to Indian Premier League action next season.
The Trinbago Knight Riders are currently the odds-on favorites to win the Caribbean Premier League this term at 11/4. Jamaica (4/1) and St. Kitts and Nevis Patriots (4/1) are tied for second. Warner's St. Lucia side are listed at 5/1, while Smith's Barbados squad are at 11/2. There are plenty of sportsbooks out there offering betting opportunities on the CPL, including some that accept Bitcoin for deposits.
Smith was signed by Barbados Tridents to replace Shakib Al Hasan, who was said to be unavailable to play in the tournament. Warner will be replacing fellow Aussie D'Arcy Short at St. Lucia. Over the weekend, St. Lucia Stars chairman Jay Pandya said Warner was always their first choice to come in and replace Short.
Pandya said, "In the draft, we selected D'Arcy Short knowing that he had entered the draft and had been playing for a high level for a while. But when D'Arcy was called to play for Australia, we immediately set our sights on David and looked to get a deal done to have David replace D'Arcy. We had some other players in mind as well, in case David could not play or we could not strike a deal, but David was our first guy we thought about."
Both players most recently took part in the first-ever Global T20 Canada. Warner captained the Winnipeg Hawks while Smith was a member of the Toronto Nationals.
Smith's decision to join Barbados and play in the Caribbean Premier League isn't based on money. The player believes he just needs playing time. The Premier League's chief operating officer said, "It was a relatively late change of heart but there weren't any financial incentives. In consultation with his manager and wife-to-be, I think they decided he just needed playing time. He wanted to play hard cricket, get back into the swing of it and also fly under the radar. You don't get hassled by anybody in the Caribbean, that was a large part of it. If this were an opportunity in England, for example, there'd be more of that."
Both Smith and Warner have their sights set on representing Australia at the 2019 World Cup.
Smith, Warner and Bancroft were notoriously involved in a ball tampering scandal back in May. Bancroft was caught on camera using sandpaper to damage a ball during the Australian team's third Test against South Africa. Later, Smith admitted that he and Warner had come up with the plan, with Warner instructing the younger Bancroft regarding how to carry out said plan. Smith and Bancroft were banned from captaining Australia for two years while Warner will never be considered for the captaincy again. All three players were immediately sent home from the tour.
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