Steve Smith linked with staggering move to $174 million US cricket league

The Aussie cricket hero has a unique connection to America and could finish his career there.

Steve Smith, pictured here with wife Dani at the Australian Cricket Awards.
Steve Smith and wife Dani have a second home in New York. Image: Getty

Steve Smith is reportedly considering a move to America to take part in a new T20 cricket league. Major League Cricket will hold its inaugural season this July, taking part in Texas and North Carolina over a three-week period.

The six-team league has been bankrolled by a number of heavyweights in India, with a reported AU$174 million invested by Microsoft boss Satya Nardella and Bollywood legend Shah Rukh Khan. Last week, Cricket NSW unveiled a partnership with Major League Cricket that will see American players come over to play in NSW Premier Cricket, and Aussies go the other way to play in the MLC.

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Cricket NSW has also entered into a partnership with the Washington DC franchise - one of six teams with a $1.5 million salary cap each season. The other teams are based in New York, Dallas, San Francisco, Los Angeles and Seattle, with a number of IPL franchises engaging in similar partnerships with the US teams.

“With the global cricket landscape currently undergoing significant transition, we view the United States as a market with immense growth potential,” Cricket NSW chief executive Lee Germon said last week. “Cricket NSW’s track record in high performance cricket and elite match operations is second to none and we believe we can bring a raft of experience to MLC and the Washington DC franchise in the coming years.”

The partnership will see Cricket NSW provide players and coaches to the Washington team, which could eventually include Smith. The talismanic Aussie batter won't play in the American T20 League this year due to the Ashes, but is reportedly weighing up a move to the States once he finishes his Test career.

According to News Corp, Smith has been in talks with Major League Cricket bosses about making a cameo in 2024. The T20 World Cup will take place in the US and West Indies next year before the Major League Cricket season, opening a window for Smith to stay in the States and play.

“We’ve been in touch with Steve about his plans and what he’s thinking,” MLC co-founder Sameer Mehta told News Corp. “What he’d love to do at some point is play cricket in the US as his schedule permits.

“His view was that if he could make it work and if we could make it work – I know this season, he has commitments. I don’t know what the Australian calendar is next year but I believe there is enough space for him to potentially play.” Long-term … our view is that we might see a lot of him in the US.”

Steve Smith, pictured here at a Major League Baseball game in New York in 2016.
Steve Smith at a Major League Baseball game in New York in 2016. (Photo by Tim Clayton/Corbis via Getty Images)

Smith has a second home in New York and a connection to the Big Apple. He popped the question to wife Dani during a holiday there in 2017.

"The opportunities for all our players is going to be brilliant," Germon said. "Steve has made no secret he loves New York. But there are also two or three other players I have spoken to who would love to play cricket in the United States.

"We will look to use the players within the Cricket NSW ecosystem to not only highlight the T20 competition and MLC, but cricket in the United States as well. Put it this way - I don't think we'll be short of players putting their hands up."

Steve Smith, pictured here with wife Dani.
Steve Smith and wife Dani have an affinity with New York City. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Steve Smith set to finish cricket career in America?

Speaking last year, Smith flagged the possibility that he might finish his career in America. “There’s obviously leagues popping up everywhere around the world now, and I think you’ll probably see more players in the back end of their career going down that route, so it’s potentially something I’ll look at in the future,” Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald.

“The US has been a market that cricket’s been trying to get into for some time. So yeah, I think it’d be interesting to see how it goes.”

And it might come sooner rather than later, with Smith revealing in January that he wasn't sure how much longer he wants to play Test cricket. "We'll see. I'm enjoying it at the moment," he told reporters during the SCG Test. "I really can't say how long I'll play for. I'm not sure.

"I'll take it one tour at a time, just enjoy it, enjoy training and trying to get better as well. Whilst I'm doing that, I'm happy playing but I don't know how long that'll last."

He later hosed down speculation he is on the verge of walking away from international cricket, but he's clearly thinking about what his future looks like.

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