Smith, Warner locked in for comeback

Suspended pair, past and present internationals to line up in Sydney on Saturday

Sam Ferris

19 September 2018, 04:10 PM AEST

Steve Smith and David Warner are confirmed starters to play Premier Cricket in Sydney this weekend along with a host of current and former Australia players.

Smith has been named in a Sutherland side that will take on Mosman at Glenn McGrath Oval on Saturday, alongside Sydney Thunder captain Shane Watson, NSW Blues leg-spinner Dan Fallins and young gun Austin Waugh, son of Test great Steve.

Warner will play alongside uncapped Blues batsman Jason Sangha for Randwick-Petersham, who will face a St George side at Coogee Oval that will likely feature Australia quick Josh Hazlewood as he takes another step on his return from injury.

And for Penrith, speedster Patrick Cummins has been penciled alongside Brisbane Heat paceman Josh Lalor to take on Hawkesbury at Howell Oval.

All matches are 50-over contests and begin at 9.30am. Full fixture can be found here.

Smith has played T20 cricket in Canada and the Caribbean while serving a 12-month suspension from international and Australian domestic cricket for his part in the Cape Town ball-tampering incident, but Saturday will be the first time the former skipper has taken strike on home soil since the events at Newlands.

Warner, like Smith, is serving a year-long ban but played in the NT Strike League in Darwin back in July along with Cameron Bancroft, who is serving a nine-month suspension.

Along with their bans, all three players must complete 100 hours of service in the cricket community and were encouraged by CA to return to their roots and play club cricket.

Smith will play for Sutherland just eight days after his wedding in Bowral in the NSW Southern Highlands, and Watson is thrilled to be playing alongside his former Test teammate, albeit in an unfortunate situation.

"It's obviously sad and disappointing circumstances that I get to play with him, but he's an awesome guy," Watson told cricket.com.au.

"To be able to play with him it's the beauty of playing Premier Cricket, you get to play with different people.

"With Smudge on his comeback trail it'll be nice to spend some time with him."

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Watson will use the early rounds of the Premier Cricket season as vital match practice ahead of the KFC Big Bash League season, like he did last year when he played four games for Sutherland before BBL|07.

The 37-year-old crunched a huge score of 184 with 16 fours and 11 sixes at Glenn McGrath Oval last year, but his campaign ended with a three-ball duck against Manly-Warringah, much to the hilarious displeasure of his young son Will.

"I'm really excited, like I was last year, to play Premier Cricket," he said.

"The shackles are off, the only pressure is from the pressure you put on yourself and from your teammates around you.

"And to be able to have my family there, where I can talk to during the game instead of them being sectioned off and unable to converse with anyone.

"Last year I played in Manly, got out for a duck, didn't have a great game and my son was in the race as I was walking off and he said 'not again, Dad!'. That stuff you just can't do in international cricket.

"Premier Cricket is pure cricket. People are playing it because they want to give up their weekends, their Tuesday and Thursday afternoons.

"They could be working or spending time with their family but they love cricket that much they're happy to give up their weekends and time to be able to play cricket. I love that.

"When you turn professional it does become more a job. There are expectations of you.

"That's the core of Premier Cricket and what I absolutely love."

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