Steve Smith in awkward development after Aussie batter snubbed for T20 Cricket World Cup

Smith was an eye-catching omission from Australia's T20 World Cup squad announcement.

Steve Smith faces an awkward situation at the upcoming T20 Cricket World Cup after missing out on selection for Australia. Selectors announced Australia's 15-man squad for the showpiece tournament in the USA and Caribbean later this year, with Smith and in-form batter Jake Fraser-McGurk the biggest omissions from the Aussie side, which will be captained by Mitch Marsh.

However, The Daily Telegraph reports that Smith will be one of the faces of the World Cup after being chosen as one of the most high-profile stars to promote the event. It's a strange scenario for the 34-year-old, considering he won't be featuring for Australia at the tournament unless he's called up into the Aussie squad due to injuries to other players.

Steve Smith is set to be one of the faces of the T20 Cricket World Cup despite the awkward fact he won't be playing in it. Pic: Getty
Steve Smith is set to be one of the faces of the T20 Cricket World Cup despite the awkward fact he won't be playing in it. Pic: Getty

Smith owns an apartment in Manhattan and spends most of his time living there when he's not playing cricket for Australia or in the Big Bash with the Sydney Sixers. And the veteran batter will be spending his time over in the States when the T20 World Cup kicks off next month, despite the fact he won't be playing for Australia. It's understood he'll be used by the International Cricket Council (ICC) to promote the game in America and the Caribbean and tap into a lucrative new market for the sport.

The ICC have already confirmed that former superstars Chris Gayle and Yuvraj Singh will be ambassadors for the T20 World Cup, as well as eight-time Olympic champion and former sprint king, Usain Bolt. But the fact Smith will be used to promote a tournament he is not going to be involved in looms as an awkward scenario for the legendary Aussie batter.

Smith's Manhattan residence is in close proximity to New York's Nassau County International Cricket Stadium, which will play host to a number of blockbuster matches during the World Cup, including India's showdown against fierce rivals Pakistan on June 9. The ICC hopes the presence of high-profile stars such as Smith in New York will help promote and sell the game to Americans, and tap into a market of around 600,000 South Asian migrants who reside in the Big Apple.

The fact Smith will be over in the USA before the World Cup kicks off might also enhance his chances of a call-up to the Aussie squad if injuries hit other players before the tournament. Chief Aussie selector George Bailey said the door had not been shut on Smith's international T20 career and said his omission from the Australian squad was not a decision that was taken lightly.

“It’s not necessarily what we hope (that Smith just focuses on Test cricket). That’s probably for Steve to answer, what his goals and challenges are going forward and what he wants to achieve in the game,” Bailey said. I still think he’s got an enormous amount of good cricket left ahead of him. Across what formats? I think that’s as much up to him to decide where he wants to go with his cricket going forward.

“I know he still loves playing T20 cricket. I know he’s going to play some MLC (Major League Cricket) later this year (in the USA, for Washington). So that’s still an itch he’d like to scratch. Clearly we’ve (Australia) had a handful of players, probably more than some other countries, that have been multi-format for a long period of time, and it’s natural that some of those will start to drop off.”


Bailey confirmed both Smith and in-form young gun Fraser-McGurk were very much in the mix for selection but insisted Australia's top order batting stocks were already very strong. “Steve, he’s one that was on an extended list and was in the conversations,” Bailey said. Again, he’s one who I think his best T20 work of late has come at the top of the order and at the moment we see that top order being really settled.”

On the left is Steve Smith and Jake Fraser-McGurk on the right.
The omissions of Steve Smith and Jake Fraser-McGurk from Australia's T20 World Cup squad left many cricket fans in shock. Pic: Getty

With David Warner, Travis Head and Mitch Marsh occupying spots at the top of the order, Bailey also explained that Fraser-McGurk's omission came down to the greater flexibility of some of the other Aussie batters. "His form's been great of late, which is fantastic, but the way we're functioning at the top of the order with the three guys we've had there has been really strong as well," Bailey said.

"It certainly looks like the top of the order is where he's best suited. We think we've got some other guys that have got some good flexibility around where they'll bat... and we have had players perform in different batting roles to cover off any eventuality."

with AAP