Photo Credit: Sydney Sixers
The Sydney Sixers have confirmed a massive coup ahead of KFC BBL|12, with Australian superstar Steve Smith agreeing to return to the club he captained to the inaugural BBL title.
One of the sport’s all-time greats, Smith is set to return home after the Sixers struck a deal for him to join their squad as a replacement player, seeing the prolific run-scorer pull on magenta for the first time since BBL|09 when he was part of the title winning team.
The 33-year-old, who captained Australia in last week’s Test match in Adelaide, will be formally named as a replacement player for one of the Sixers international recruits when they depart in January, following the completion of Smith’s international commitments.
Sixers fans will have the opportunity to see Smith in action for as many as four regular season matches – in addition, potentially, to finals – starting with the clash with the defending champion Perth Scorchers at the SCG on January 15, followed by fixtures against the Adelaide Strikers in Coffs Harbour two days later, the Sydney Smash at the SCG on January 21 and a trip to face the Hurricanes in Hobart on January 23.
The obvious highlight of those matches – the Sydney Smash – now looms as the most highly anticipated contest of the summer with Smith and Sydney Thunder recruit, David Warner, set to face off at the Sixers’ traditional home ground in front of a bumper crowd.
A two-time BBL Championship player and member of the 2012 Champions League title-winning outfit, Smith’s name remains etched into the history of the Sydney Sixers.
Captaining the side to their first ever Big Bash title, Smith lifted the trophy alongside legends of the game, Brett Lee, Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Starc, Pat Cummins, Josh Hazelwood, as well as current Sixers stars Moises Henriques and Steve O’Keefe.
The return of the superstar will see him reunited with long-time friends, Henriques and O’Keefe, bringing together three foundation players of the club.
Henriques, who alongside Smith, is the only other Sixer to captain the club to win BBL titles, said the veteran’s commitment to the Sixers has never been in question.
“Steve Smith is a Sixer. He has been part of this club from the start, and he will be part of this club for as long as he wants to be,” Henriques said.
“He has always known that the door is open to him playing with us again and we are really excited that our fans will get to see him in four matches in the latter half of the season, including two at the SCG.
“He’s focused on the Test summer right now but once that is over, we will welcome him back with open arms.”
Head of Sydney Sixers, Jonathan Robinson-Lees echoed Henriques sentiments, sharing his delight on behalf of Sixers fans.
“We are really excited for the team and especially our fans, who will now get to see one of the world’s greatest players in magenta this summer.”
Accumulating, 714 runs across 30 appearances for the Sixers, Smith provides not only an obvious option in the top-order but also the insights of one of the greatest minds in the game.
Smith’s best innings remains a match-winning 66 not out at the SCG in BBL|09, helping the Sixers claw home against the Melbourne Renegades in a final-ball thriller.
Sydney Sixers BBL|12 Home Fixtures
Sydney Sixers BBL|12 Squad
Head Coach: Greg Shipperd
Assistant Coaches: Cameron White, Andre Adams, Jay Lenton, Mitch Claydon
Contracted Players: Sean Abbott, Jackson Bird, Dan Christian, Ben Dwarshuis, Jack Edwards, Mickey Edwards, Moises Henriques, Daniel Hughes, Chris Jordan, Hayden Kerr, Nathan Lyon, Todd Murphy, Izharulhaq Naveed, Stephen O’Keefe, Kurtis Patterson, Josh Philippe, Jordan Silk, Steve Smith (Replacement Player), James Vince