FORMER Australian captain Steve Smith, who has been banned by Cricket Australia for his role in the Newlands ball-tampering row, on Thursday made a return to cricket in Global T20 Canada league. Also Read - IPL 2021 Auction: Chennai Super Kings to Royal Challengers Bangalore, Franchises That Could Eye Steve Smith at IPL 14 Mini-Auction
Smith was on the cricket field for the first time since 25 March when he led Australia to a 322-run defeat at the hands of South Africa in the Cape Town Test to slip 2-1 behind in the four-game series. The 29-year-old was handed a 12-month ban from international matches and domestic fixtures for conspiring to scuff up the ball with sandpaper during that match. However, the ban does not extend to domestic tournaments outside Australia and so he was eligible to play in the six-team Canadian league. Also Read - IPL 2021 Auction: Steve Smith to Sreesanth, Five Players Who Could be Sold For Big Money During IPL 14 Mini-Auction
Smith, playing for the Toronto Nationals under the captaincy of Darren Sammy, showed few signs of rust in his 41-ball innings of 61, which included eight fours and a six, before being stumped and leaving the field to a standing ovation against Vancouver Knights. Also Read - IPL 2021: MS Dhoni-led CSK Likely to Purchase Glenn Maxwell, Steve Smith, Dawid Malan in Mini Auction in February
The former Australian skipper, who was playing a cricket match after a long gap, admitted to being a little jittery. “I normally don’t get real nervous before I play but if I’m being honest I was a little bit nervous today, three months off and I hadn’t hit that many balls,” ICC quoted him as saying after the Thursday’s game.
“I had a bit of luck today, didn’t feel as good as I have in the past but it’s nice to score runs when you’re not feeling good so hopefully there are positive signs. Chasing, you need a lot to go right and that’s a great way to start the tournament,”he added.
Toronto won the match by six wickets after former New Zealand international Anton Devcich anchored their chase to score 92 not out as they reached 231 for four in 19.2 overs.