Smith keenly sought by T20 leagues

The Afghanistan Premier League has emerged as an unlikely suitor for the services of former Australia captain Steve Smith.

The exiled batsman has become hot property with Twenty20 leagues around the world as he serves a 12-month ban imposed by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball tampering scandal in South Africa.

Fairfax Media understands Smith’s management has been inundated with offers to play in competitions organised by Sri Lanka, Pakistan and the Caribbean as well as leagues run by the Afghanistan, United Arab Emirates and Canada boards.

Smith has resumed training, raising speculation a return to competitive cricket may not be far away.

It’s understood Smith has not ruled out any league and is looking at how each would fit in with his calendar.

It would be a major coup for any of the leagues if it was able to secure the signature of one of the most recognised faces in the game, particularly for the non-traditional cricket nations.

The APL was created in January by the Afghanistan board, which gained full member status from the International Cricket Council last June.

The inaugural tournament is slated for October in Sharjah, which means it would most likely overlap with Australia’s Tests against Pakistan in the UAE. That will be the first series played by Australia since the tumult in South Africa.

The Canadian tournament, Global T20 Canada, is being held in Toronto from June 28 to July 16, which would mark his comeback if he was to play in the associate nation.

CA is fully supportive of Smith playing in a sanctioned T20 league during his suspension.

While Smith’s schedule remains in the air, he will certainly pad up for his grade club Sutherland in Sydney’s Premier Cricket competition.

There is a strong possibility Smith and former Test teammate Shane Watson could both line up in the same Sutherland team in the summer.

Smith, who recently returned from a holiday in the US, had a hit in the SCG indoor nets during the week with his father, who was feeding balls into a bowling machine.

Former vice-captain David Warner is also in the process of mapping out his playing schedule for the final 10 months of his ban.

Warner will line up for his grade club Randwick Petersham and is also looking at T20 leagues overseas.

Newly appointed national coach Justin Langer threw his support behind Smith, Warner and Cameron Bancroft earlier this month, saying the door was still open for the trio. (Courtesy The Sydney Morning Herald)