BBL 2021-22: CA deems Steve Smith ineligible to feature in BBL finals

Steve Smith

Sydney Sixers skipper Moises Henriques is disappointed over the unavailability of Steve Smith for the playoffs round of the ongoing BBL season. Smith is deemed ineligible to play the matches as he was not part of the Local Players Replacement Pool which came into existence two weeks ago. According to the rules, no clubs can name a replacement outside the squad which was formed ahead of the tournament. The former Australia skipper was not part of the squad as he was expected to remain unavailable due to national duty.

However, the postponement of Australia’s home series against New Zealand meant that the 32-year-old became available for the qualifier match against Perth Scorchers on January 22 at Docklands Stadium in Melbourne. But Cricket Australia (CA) rejected the right-hander’s application to represent the defending champions as the opposition teams voted against his participation.

Henriques, in response to the development, said that a player of Smith’s stature being unavailable due to COVID bubble rules is beyond his understanding. “You have got a former Australian captain, one of the best players in the world. You have got IPL teams who pay multi-million dollars just to have this guy as part of their franchise.

“Advertising, bums on seats, eyes on TVs – I mean, you do the maths. And we’re saying no because of a rule that is two weeks old in some COVID bubble hub. To me, I don’t get it,” he said according to Cricbuzz.

Cricket Australia responds to the entire fiasco and explains the rules

Cricket Australia (CA) in response to Sydney Sixers skipper’s comments, has said that while creating the Local Replacement Pool, it was agreed that the teams won’t be allowed to name replacements outside the squad. The board also revealed that none of the players returning from national duties were named in the BBL squads.

“In creating the central LRP pool, it was agreed that clubs would not be able to contract LRPs from outside the pool for the remainder of the season,” CA said in a statement. “This request was denied … noting that other players returning to the BBL from international duty have been retained on club lists throughout the competition.