Smith, Warner may play new T20 grade comp

David Warner (pic) and Steve Smith would be candidates to play in a new national grade T20 comp.
David Warner (pic) and Steve Smith would be candidates to play in a new national grade T20 comp.

Steve Smith and David Warner could be the star attractions of a new Twenty20 tournament that will bring together Australia's best grade sides.

Cricket Australia has launched a new 10-team T20 event that will be held in Adelaide next year, on March 5-6.

Two clubs from each of NSW and Victoria will qualify for the tournament, while other states and territories will each contribute a single club.

Smith and Warner, who are banned from representing Australia, NSW and any Big Bash League franchise as part of their 12-month suspensions emanating from the Cape Town cheating scandal, have already confirmed they will play grade cricket this summer.

The batsmen are yet to map out their availability, with Sutherland and Randwick-Petersham respectively.

But there's no reason to suggest they will not take part in Sydney's T20 grade competition, which will start in December and serve as a qualifying event for the tournament in Adelaide.

The only possible on-field schedule clash could be with South Africa's T20 Global League. Officials in South Africa are understood to be interested in signing Smith and Warner.

However, the disgraced duo will almost certainly opt against returning to the scene of their life-changing mistakes so soon - especially given the sort of treatment they received from local fans earlier this year.

Meanwhile, leading administrators from around the world have reportedly agreed to limit players' participation in T20 leagues.

ESPNcricinfo is reporting that full members reached a consensus during the International Cricket Council (ICC) annual conference that players should be restricted to participating in no more than three T20 leagues a year.

Such a move is likely to generate immense backlash from players and players' unions, something the executive chairman of the Federation of International Cricketers' Associations (FICA) flagged last month.

"This problem can't be solved by simply restricting players from playing in T20 leagues and FICA will continue to oppose any attempts to unfairly regulate or to restrict players," FICA boss Tony Irish said.

Cricket Australia chief executive James Sutherland, who is currently in Ireland, was part of an ICC working group tasked with establishing how to manage the risks associated with the proliferation of domestic T20 leagues.

"They need to be managed and regulated in such a way that the best cricketers still want to play international cricket. They aspire to that and they're incentivised to do that," Sutherland said last month.

"We don't want to make it too easy for them to exit (international cricket) prematurely."

Australian Associated Press