BBL boss' massive admission as Steve Smith cops final rejection

·Sports Editor
Alistair Dobson, pictured here speaking to the media in Melbourne.
Alistair Dobson says he would love to see Steve Smith play in the BBL final. Image: Getty

The Sydney Sixers' final attempt to play Steve Smith in Friday night's BBL final has been rejected, despite Big Bash boss Alistair Dobson admitting on Thursday he would “love” to see him play.

The absence of Smith in the Sixers' finals campaign has proven a source of much frustration for the Sydney side, as well as pundits and fans.

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The injury-riddled Sixers were hoping it proved a case of third time lucky after sending a fresh SOS to Cricket Australia for Smith to be allowed to play in Friday's final against the Perth Scorchers.

But according to AAP, the request was knocked back late on Thursday, with Smith no longer on standby for the clash and the Sixers having since moved on.

It's believed officials determined that there was adequate batting cover available for the Sixers in the local replacement pool, despite them being without three players through Covid and up to another two through injury.

Because he hasn't been included in the squad for the entire BBL season, Smith isn't allowed to play despite the Sixers wanting him for their finals campaign.

The Sixers thought Smith wouldn't be available for the entirety of the season, but with New Zealand cancelling their ODI series in Australia he is suddenly free.

Cricket Australia had blocked two previous applications from the Sixers to have Smith added to their replacement player pool after the other state associations voted against it.

But on Thursday, BBL boss Dobson said he would love to see Smith play in the final.

“Clearly we’d love him to be able to play and be part of the BBL,” Dobson said.

“I’m not going to jump ahead about the process. If (the Sixers) want to have that discussion again around the criteria or the rules that exist, that door’s always open.

“It’s on a case-by-case basis depending on the situation and we’ve got a technical committee that sits and assesses all those applications.

“Clearly the Sixers have got some further challenges after last night,” Dobson said.

“We’ll (speak) with them today and establish whether they need to bring in any further replacements.”

Steve Smith, pictured here in action for the Sydney Sixers in 2020.
Steve Smith in action for the Sydney Sixers in 2020. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

Steve Smith cops BBL final rejection

The Sixers applied and failed to have Smith included for their semi-final win over the Adelaide Strikers after Josh Philippe contracted Covid-19, opting to pick assistant coach Jay Lenton instead.

They asked the same question on Thursday after Steve O'Keefe (calf), Jordan Silk (hamstring) and Moises Henriques (calf) suffered fresh injuries at the SCG, while Daniel Hughes (ankle) failed a pre-match fitness test.

Silk has been ruled out of the final, while the other trio remain upbeat they will be part of the Sixers' bid for a third-straight crown.

Philippe will not return against the Scorchers, while brothers Jack and Mickey Edwards are also set to be unavailable because of Covid-19.

"We do have enough players to field an XI. It's just we'd probably have to pick bowlers to bat," skipper Henriques told reporters on Thursday.

Ashton Turner and Moises Henriques, pictured here with the trophy at a BBL final media opportunity at Marvel Stadium.
Ashton Turner and Moises Henriques pose with the trophy at a BBL final media opportunity at Marvel Stadium. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

"We've definitely asked to bring him (Smith) into the pool (of replacement players). Whether that gets across the line or not, I don't know.

"Clueless. We didn't know for yesterday's game until about 10.30am. We're preparing to find out pretty late."

While Adelaide skipper Peter Siddle said on Monday it was right to block Smith's signing, Scorchers captain Ashton Turner didn't see it that way.

Turner, who confirmed hamstrung T20 World Cup ace Mitch Marsh would play on Friday night, sided with the Sixers on the topic.

"The last few games, as a fan I would have liked to have seen Steve Smith playing," Turner said.

"I can't change my tune now, just because we're matching up against them.

"I like playing against the best players in the world, Steve is one of those.

"We know that everyone wearing a pink shirt tomorrow is going to be a good cricketer."

with AAP

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