Home » Steve Smith to be face of T20 World Cup he’s not playing in

Steve Smith to be face of T20 World Cup he’s not playing in

Steve Smith is set to be one of the faces of the T20 World Cup despite not being picked in Australia’s squad.

Smith and young batting sensation Jake Fraser-McGurk were the notable omissions from Australia’s “provisional” 15-man squad for the World Cup, which begins in June.

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Selectors opted for David Warner over Fraser-McGurk despite the 22-year-old’s blistering form for the Delhi Capitals in the Indian Premier League.

Ashton Agar was picked as the second spinner, Josh Inglis and Matthew Wade both made the squad as wicketkeeping options, while Marcus Stoinis and Cameron Green were both selected.

Two-time BBL player of the tournament Matt Short was left out.

Smith was part of Australia’s side that won the 2021 T20 World and a key member of the team that won the ODI World Cup on home soil in 2015.

But selectors overlooked him this time, favouring players who provide more firepower and flexibility throughout the batting order.

It marks the first time in more than a decade Smith has been left out of an Australian squad for a major tournament, but the 34-year-old will still have a role to play at the World Cup.

The Daily Telegraph reports Smith will be one of the players used to promote the event, which is being held in the United States and the Caribbean.

Smith owns a home in New York City, which will host the showpiece game of the World Cup when India take on Pakistan at the Nassau County International Cricket Stadium on Long Island.

The Major League Cricket launched in America last year and Smith will likely play in the US-based T20 tournament later this year for the Washington Freedom.

The T20 World Cup looms as critical expansion opportunity for cricket worldwide if it can tap into America’s migrant population. Around 600,000 South Asian migrants live in New York City.

The ICC have already announced former six hitters Yuvraj Singh and Chris Gayle, as well as Olympic champion Usain Bolt as the Event Ambassadors for the tournament.

But it could make for an awkward moment if Smith is promoting a tournament he isn’t playing in, despite still being widely regarded as one of the best batsmen of his generation.

After he was overlooked in the IPL auction, Smith travelled to India to commentator on the IPL for broadcaster Star Sports.

Head selector George Bailey said narrowing picking the 15-player squad had been tough.

“Steve Smith, Matt Short, Jason Behrendorff, Aaron Hardie, Spencer Johnson and Xavier Bartlett were all part of long conversations, along with several others, including Jake Fraser-McGurk who is yet to play T20 International cricket but continues to impress and is developing rapidly,” Bailey said.

“Being constrained to a squad of 15 for World Cups is always a challenge given the different scenarios and options we’d like to cover.

“We will continue monitoring several players who have missed out on this preliminary squad and note that if we wish to change this squad, we have the option to do so over the coming weeks in accordance with ICC regulations.

“Ultimately the balance of the final 15 needs to provide the best chance of being successful in this campaign.”

Bailey said Short, along with Fraser-McGurk, Tanveer Sangha and Spencer Johnson, would be considered to travel to the World Cup as a reserve.

AUSTRALIAN T20 WORLD CUP SQUAD

Mitchell Marsh (c) Ashton Agar, Pat Cummins, Tim David, Nathan Ellis, Cameron Green, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Josh Inglis, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Marcus Stoinis, Matthew Wade, David Warner, Adam Zampa