Caribbean Premier League
Smith Caribbean-bound for next cricket contest
A desire for game time rather than financial incentives behind former captain's CPL change of heart
7 August 2018, 11:16 AM AEST
The Caribbean Premier League didn't offer extra cash or unique arrangements to change Steve Smith's mind and convince him to sign up, only the carrot of time in the middle.
The West Indies is the next stop in Smith and David Warner's redemption tour, with the suspended duo taking part in the Twenty20 tournament that starts Thursday (AEST) and runs until September 16.
Warner, who will feature in the CPL opener, agreed to join St Lucia almost a month ago.
Smith flew out on Monday evening to link up with the Barbados Tridents after attending his sister’s wedding, having been a late addition to the Tridents squad.
Off to Barbados for me now. I look forward to joining my @BIMTridents teammates and I can’t wait to get back playing some cricket @CPL— Steve Smith (@stevesmith49) August 6, 2018
"It was a relatively late change of heart but there weren't any financial incentives," Pete Russell, the CPL's chief operating officer, told AAP.
"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."
Brisbane Heat's Bash Brothers Chris Lynn and Brendon McCullum, South Africa veteran Hashim Amla and fiery Pakistan paceman Wahab Riaz are among the other internationals joining the West Indies' best in the sixth edition of the event.
It will be the highest standard Smith and Warner, both aiming to return for Australia at the 2019 World Cup, have played since the Cape Town scandal.
The batsmen are serving year-long bans from internationals plus domestic cricket at home.
The Sydney Premier Cricket season starts on September 22 and will be the pair's next assignment after the CPL.
Smith and Warner are expected to be among the CPL's top earners, but it will be a skerrick of the $2.4 million they were each set to pocket from this year's Indian Premier League.
Those IPL contracts were torn up in the wake of the ball-tampering furore.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is also understood to have made it clear that counties should look elsewhere.
The West Indies Cricket Board, who helped stage the Canadian T20 competition that doubled as Smith and Warner's comeback, has been more welcoming.
"It was a very short conversation with the WICB," CPL chief executive Damien O'Donohoe said. "They were all for it.
"It's a great opportunity for us to have two of the game's biggest names ... it's going to raise the profile of the tournament."
Smith and Warner have to undertake 100 hours of voluntary service as part of Cricket Australia's punishments.
Work in the West Indies won't count towards that tally, but the duo have told O'Donohoe they want to help grow the game.
"They're both really, really keen, and have been very forthcoming, in terms of participating in the clinics we do," O'Donohoe said.
CPL Tournament Guide
Steve Smith (Barbados Tridents), David Warner (St Lucia Stars), Chris Lynn (Trinbago Knight Riders), Fawad Ahmed (Trinbago Knight Riders), Ben Cutting (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots) and Tom Cooper (St Kitts & Nevis Patriots).
Three teams will be coached by Australians: Trinbago (Simon Katich), St Lucia (Brad Hodge), Guyana Amazon Warriors (Johan Botha).
Aug 8: Tournament opener (Trinbago v St Lucia) at Port of Spain Aug 17: Smith and Warner showdown (Barbados v St Lucia) at St Lucia Sept 2: Smith and Warner showdown II (Barbados v St Lucia) at Bridgetown Sept 16: Tournament final
- The Katich-mentored Trinbago are the reigning champions, while Hodge has taken charge of a St Lucia outfit that failed to win a single game during the 2017 edition
- Each of the six teams will play each other twice before the finals start
- Games will again be staged in Florida at the only cricket stadium in the United States with ICC status
- Fox Cricket will broadcast all 34 matches