Steve Smith set to return to cricket... but in the Canadian T20 league

Will Macpherson
Crying shame | Deposed Australia captain Steve Smith gave a tearful press conference in March, apologising for his role in the ball-tampering scandal: AP

Steve Smith is poised to return to high-level cricket for the first time since he was sacked as Australia captain following the ball-tampering scandal that shook the sport.

Smith is banned from playing international cricket for 12 months, or domestic cricket in Australia, for his role in events in the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March, when sandpaper was used to alter the condition of the ball.

But Smith’s suspension does not extend to domestic tournaments outside Australia, and he has been named as a marquee player in next month’s inaugural Global Twenty20 Canada league. Cricket Australia are believed to be supportive of his decision.

Smith could also play grade cricket - not first-class cricket but a competitive standard nonetheless - for Sutherland, his club in Sydney.

Smith is set to join fellow Aussie Chris Lynn, as well as West Indies batsman Chris Gayle and Pakistan all-rounder Shahid Afridi, in the Canadian Twenty20 tournament, which runs from June 28-July 16.

Five of the six teams — Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks — represent Canadian cities, with the sixth team consisting of players from the Caribbean.

Smith, his vice-captain David Warner and Cameron Bancroft all gave tearful press conferences in the days after their bans were confirmed.

Wicketkeeper Tim Paine took over as captain of Australia and will lead the team to England for a series of limited-overs matches next month.