Big Bash League (BBL) side Sydney Sixers’ all-rounder Dan Christian has slammed Cricket Australia (CA) for not allowing batting stalwart Steve Smith from playing in their Play-off game against Perth Scorchers, which they lost by 49 runs at the Marvel Stadium here.
Thanks to the emphatic win on Saturday night, Perth Scorchers are through to the BBL final, with Sixers fuming over CA’s rules, which barred them from contracting Smith for the match.
Sixers will still get a chance to be in the final as they play the winners of Sunday’s Thunder versus Strikers clash to see who meets the Scorchers in the decider on January 28.
Smith, the Australian Test vice-captain, was not contracted by the Sixers this season as it was assumed that he would be unavailable due to international commitments such as the Ashes and the limited-overs series against New Zealand. But after the series against the Blackcaps got postponed because of COVID-related logistical problems — and a window opened for Smith to play in the BBL — Sixers contacted CA to contract him for the remaining matches.
However, CA did not let the former Australian captain make a BBL return despite the club having a spot to fill.
Sixers all-rounder Dan Christian termed Cricket Australia’s decision to bar Smith “really disappointing”.
“It sounds pretty ridiculous that one of the world (world’s best) is stopped from playing in the domestic competition,” Christian told SEN on Sunday.
“It makes no sense to us as players. It’s really disappointing from our point of views that that’s where it stands right now. We’ve (been) talking the last couple of years about having access to the best players in the world, particularly an overseas perspective and it’s one of the big criticisms of the Big Bash.
“Having played in a lot of overseas competitions all the other competitions have the best local players playing, so the IPL has all the Indian players, the Caribbean league has all the West Indian players playing, whereas we’ve never really had access to our Aussie guys.
“Now we’re going to have access to the Aussie players because this Australia and New Zealand series has been postponed and yet we’re going to ban them from playing a domestic competition? It doesn’t make any sense to me,” added Christian.