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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 18 November 2018

Former Australia captain Steve Smith joins star-studded UAE T20x

Smith, serving ban for role in ball-tampering controversy, to play in December-January event after UAE T20x receives NOC from Cricket Australia

Former Australia captain Steve Smith, centre, at the crease during Sutherland's match against Mosman at Glenn McGrath Oval in Sydney. EPA
Former Australia captain Steve Smith, centre, at the crease during Sutherland's match against Mosman at Glenn McGrath Oval in Sydney. EPA

Steve Smith could be set for a Dh1 million windfall after signing up to play in the UAE T20x, starting in December.

The former Australia captain, who is serving a one-year ban from international cricket for his part in the ball-tampering controversy in March, will be on the auction list for the new tournament.

AB de Villiers is a non-playing “ambassador” for the league, while Eoin Morgan, Andre Russell, David Miller, Shahid Afridi and Kumar Sangakkara are the named “icon” players who will be assigned to each of the five franchises.

The rest of the players will be recruited by either draft or auction, depending on their status. Each of the six players from full, Test-playing nations per 16-man squad, will be put to auction on November 18.

The remaining places, for players from the UAE and other Associate countries, as well as emerging players, will be assigned by a draft process.

So Smith, for example, will be available via auction, with franchise owners able to bid up to a maximum of US$275,000 (Dh1m). The players themselves are able to set their own base price.

Smith, and David Warner, another of the banned Australian players, returned to club cricket in Australia last month.

Each of them had also played in a new T20 franchise league in Canada during the summer.

The UAE T20x organisers say they are also in talks with Warner about his potential availability.

“[Warner] has not confirmed yet, but we are in talks,” said Harris Mir, who is in charge of talent management and marketing for the UAE T20x.

“We have signed Steve Smith, and we have his [no objection certificate] in place from the Australian cricket board.”

The five-team tournament is scheduled to take place from December 19 to January 11.

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