Steve Smith is set to return to the Big Bash League after six years, having re-joined Sydney Sixers for the 2019-20 edition of the T20 tournament.
"I am excited about getting an opportunity to play for the Sydney Sixers again," Smith said. He is expected to enjoy a brief stint with the Sixers next year, and is slated to play at least two group games for the franchise in January, and further in the finals, if the team qualifies.
The world’s No.1-ranked Test batsman in the MRF Tyres ICC Test Rankings, Smith returned to Australia’s T20I set-up last month, after three-and-a-half years, with just about a year to restate his credentials ahead of next year's ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
"When the schedule came out and I saw there was a chance to wear the Magenta again, I jumped at the opportunity and look forward to joining up with the team after my January national team commitments have ended," Smith said.
Smith marked his comeback to the T20I format with two unbeaten fifties (53* and 80*) against Sri Lanka and Pakistan within a month. He will be available to join Sixers after the three-match ODI series in India, which ends on January 19.
He represented Sixers in 26 games (20 in BBL, six in the Champions League T20), and captained the team to their first, and thus far only, BBL title, in the inaugural season in 2011-12. His last appearance for them came in 2014.
To accommodate Smith, Sixers have parted ways with wicket-keeper Peter Nevill, who had joined the Sixers from Melbourne Renegades in a multi-year deal in 2017. While welcoming Smith, head coach Greg Shipperd recalled his contribution in recruiting young prospects for the franchise during his previous stint.
“While I know the fans will and should be excited by this development, our players will benefit from his skills, support and perspectives on the game,” Shipperd said. “Steve was instrumental in our recruitment of Josh Philippe, and Josh, along with other youngsters in our squad, like Jack Edwards, Lloyd Pope, Tom Curran and Justin Avendano, will be the better for sharing a dressing room with an Australian great.”
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