No free ride to Darwin for Warner, Bancroft
Banned opening batsmen to pay for own flights and accommodation as they play in Darwin one-day and T20 competition in July
30 May 2018, 05:00 PM AEST
David Warner and Cameron Bancroft will pay their own way to Darwin and not be given match payments for their appearance in the Northern Territory Strike League in July.
The two players have confirmed they will play in the July tournament, Warner for two one-day matches and Bancroft for the entire event.
Not only will they not be paid to play, the duo will have to pay for their own flights and accommodation.
And NT Cricket are hopeful of luring more than five other state- and BBL-contracted players to join the banned duo in playing with and against club cricketers from the Top End.
The inaugural season of the Strike League in 2017 included the likes of BBL stars D'Arcy Short and Jake Weatherald as well as South Australia duo Jake Lehmann and Alex Ross.
Including Warner and Bancroft, NT Cricket are hoping to finalise a list of between six to 10 professional players from around the country for this year’s tournament.
And CEO Joel Morrison is confident the NT's local amateur cricketers can match it with some of the best players in the world.
"We're more than comfortable that our local players will be able to hold their own," Morrison told cricket.com.au.
"David and Cameron are exceptional players and they'll be a level above, but that's part of the challenge for our local players to test themselves against those skills. That will enhance their development.
"Last year showed ... that our players held their own. So we're very excited about the chance our players will have to play alongside Cameron and David."
The tournament also looms as a chance for Bancroft and Warner to complete some of the 100 hours of volunteer work in the cricket community that they're required to do as part of their punishment from Cricket Australia for the ball-tampering scandal.
The amateur nature of the tournament means matches will only be played on weekends, which will give Bancroft - who will be in Darwin for almost all of July - ample spare time between games.
"Cameron will have playing and training commitments, but given he'll be up here for the whole month, he'll have plenty of time to help out depending on what opportunities are up here," Morrison said.
"We'll sit down with the players, WA Cricket, Cricket NSW and Cricket Australia and make sure we have an open conversation about what the opportunities might be.
"We're working with their respective organisations to make sure what they do is reflected in their community time."
Morrison was tight-lipped on which other state-level players will commit to the tournament, but a homecoming for NT duo Short and Kane Richardson won't happen for at least the opening weeks of the tournament due to a clash with Australia's tour of Zimbabwe.
Fellow Territorian Weatherald, player-of-the-match in last season's BBL final, is currently in Brisbane with the National Performance Squad.
Tasmania batsman Jake Doran has already spent time in the NT this year playing club cricket for Tracy Village and Tigers teammate Jordan Silk is set to play for the club as well over the winter.
Morrison says the commitment from Warner and Bancroft is an endorsement of cricket's growth in the NT.
"The reality is both Dave and Cameron would have had no shortage of options for what they could do over the next couple of months," he said.
"So we're just really proud of the work the NT Cricket team has done ... that both of those players have acknowledged the facilities and opportunities up here and were happy to come up and be part of the league."