Nathan Lyon has delivered a scorching take on the Steve Smith BBL drama as the Sydney Sixers suffered a horror blow on the eve of their final.
Australia’s greatest ever off-spinner Nathan Lyon has delivered a scathing swipe at Cricket Australia after Steve Smith was barred from playing the BBL Finals.
After a turbulent BBL which has seen a larger Test squad taking more star power out of teams and Covid making it even harder for the game to attract big names, CA’s bizarre stance seemed to shoot it’s own T20 competition in the foot.
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It was announced on Friday that Smith wouldn’t be allowed to play in any of the BBL Finals, having played only a handful T20s for the club over the years as he’s usually unavailable due to international requirements.
But a rule brought in on January 10 barred the Sixers from bringing Smith into the team, despite having a slot free on its roster, instead only able to draw players from a from a pool of local replacements inside the BBL’s Melbourne hub.
And to make matters even worse, the Sixers lost key batter Daniel Hughes during the warm up after he stepped on the boundary rope, only to be replaced by debutant Nick Bertus, who has four first-class matches and five domestic one-day matches under his belt.
Fox Cricket reported that Hughes will be lucky to play again in the tournament and exposed the drama once again.
Asked before play and before the Hughes injury was known, Lyon took a massive swipe at CA, joining the long list of players to slam the decision to keep Australia’s best players out of the tournament.
“I think it’s ridiculous if I’m being honest with you. I think an absolute joke that the best players in Australian cricket have been ruled out of not playing ODIs so they should be able to play Big Bash. I think it’s ridiculous and I’m happy to say that. We’ll see what happens in repercussions.”
Gilchrist added: “I don’t think you’re the only one around the country who thinks the same way.”
Michael Vaughan added “I agree”, and Gilchrist said “I do too”.
Another Sixer who spoke out was Dan Christian, who has had success around the world in domestic T20 competitions.
“It sounds pretty ridiculous that one of the world is stopped from playing in the domestic competition,” Christian added on SEN before the match. “It makes no sense to us as players. It’s really disappointing from our point of views that that’s where it stands right now.
“We’ve talking the last couple of years about having access to the best players in the world, particularly an overseas perspective and it’s one of the big criticisms of the Big Bash.
“Having played in a lot of overseas competitions all the other competitions have the best local players playing, so the IPL has all the Indian players, the Caribbean league has all the West Indian players playing, whereas we’ve never really had access to our Aussie guys and now we’re going to have access to the Aussie players because this Australia and New Zealand series has been postponed and yet we’re going to ban them from playing a domestic competition? It doesn’t make any sense to me.”
He said it was crazy particularly considering the finals will be when there are the most eyes on the game.
It comes after plenty of players hit out at the decision, including Melbourne Stars and former Australian opener Joe Burns.
“Am I the only one who thinks it’s crazy that we pushed on blindly with replacement players simply for content fulfilment, thus losing competitive integrity, yet we won’t allow Steve Smith to be on TVs playing for the team his always represented and led #ReplacementsOverSmudge.”