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Smith poised to return to cricket

Suspended Australia captain could take part in a T20 tournament in Canada from next month

Steve Smith could make his return to cricket as early as next month in Toronto as part of the Global T20 Canada tournament.

Smith, who lost the Australian captaincy for at least two years due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town, is also serving a 12-month suspension which prohibits him playing state, Big Bash and national level cricket. 

Cricket.com.au understands the Smith camp has been approached by organisers of the Toronto-based tournament with an eye to the suspended star featuring in the six-team competition, which will be staged from 28 June to 16 July, with a minimum of four Canadian players in each squad, with all matches to be played at Maple Leaf Cricket Club, 40km north of downtown Toronto in King City.

It is understood Cricket Australia is supportive of the opportunity should Smith take part in the tournament.

One team will be comprised entirely of West Indians, bar the four local Canadians, with most of the squads to be made up of foreign players. 

Interested players can register online, with a draft on May 26 set to determine the rosters for the 19-day tournament. 

The six competing teams are Caribbean All-Stars, Toronto Nationals, Montreal Tigers, Ottawa Royals, Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks. 

The International Cricket Council sanctioned the league in February, making it the first sanctioned T20 competition organised by an Associate nation in North America.

However, the West Indies is a sponsor of the league, and without the support of a Full Member nation the ICC would not have approved the competition. 

After he accepted his 12-month suspension, Smith spent time in the United States before returning home last week.

On Tuesday, he hit the indoor nets at Moore Park for more than hour with his father Peter, who diligently fed him balls through the bowling machine. 

While Smith’s return to the middle might be sooner rather than later, the comebacks of David Warner and Cameron Bancroft have become clearer in the past week.

On Monday, Bancroft – who copped a nine-month ban by CA – was granted special dispensation to play in Western Australia’s Premier Cricket competition after the Western Australia District Cricket Council voted 14-2 in favour of allowing the opener to play next summer.

Unlike other states, the bans handed down by CA extend to the WADCC, which is why Bancroft needed special approval to play.

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Two days later, Randwick Petersham club president and former Australia fast bowler Mike Whitney revealed Warner will play at least the “first three or four" games for the club at the start of the 2018-19 season.

"We're delighted to have him," Whitney said. "He's one of the best players Australia has had since World War Two.

"He's been speaking to one of our club officials and he has committed to the first three or four rounds of the season. Why it is only three or four rounds at this stage, I don't know.

"Everyone is excited to have him. He will be great in the changing rooms with younger players."

Warner, along with Smith, was suspended for 12 months for his involvement at Newlands, but unlike the former captain, he can never hold a leadership position in Australian cricket again.

All three players must also complete 100 hours of community service as part of their punishment, which Warner has already started to achieve after he spent time in Darwin at a Power Hitting clinic with Northern Territory women and girls.