Steve Smith named in BBL team of the tournament after stunning display
Steve Smith showed just how effective a T20 cricketer he is, dominating the BBL in five games after being left out at the T20 World Cup.
It took Steve Smith just five outings for the Sydney Sixers to remind the Big Bash League just how much of a talented batsman he is, with the 33-year-old earning team of the year honours. After a successful Test summer at home, Smith was one of a number of Aussie stars to make cameos in the BBL ahead of the upcoming Test series in India.
Smith, as well as the likes of David Warner, Usman Khawaja and Marnus Labuschagne among various others, took to the BBL briefly after the series against South Africa came to a close. Despite not having played any BBL cricket since 2020, the former Test skipper showed exactly how much of a force he could be in the T20 arena.
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Boasting a staggering average of 86.5 from his five innings, Smith was one of only three players to be nominated for the team of the year by all eight BBL coaches. Fast-bowling Sixers teammate Sean Abbott, player of the tournament Matt Short and Perth Scorchers batter Aaron Hardie were the other three.
Smith finished with the most sixes of any player in the tournament, despite playing in only five of fourteen games this season. He also smashed two centuries, becoming the first player in Sixers history to hit a T20 hundred.
His Sixers teammates were in awe of what the 33-year-old had accomplished in his brief period with the team. Jordan Silk said it had been nothing short of a 'blessing' that Smith had joined the team once again.
"We were blessed, weren't we?" Silk said. "That was some of the most incredible batting we'll probably ever see in Big Bash cricket in a four or five game stretch."
This summer, Abbott became the first man to reach 150 BBL wickets, while Short found success opening the bowling for the Adelaide Strikers and scored the most runs of any player by the end of the regular season. Tipped as a future Australian representative, Hardie enjoyed a breakout campaign for the Scorchers with four half-centuries.
The grand-final hosting Scorchers contributed the most players to the team (three), while the Melbourne Stars and Sydney Thunder were the only sides without representation in the XI. Aaron Finch was named captain for guiding the Melbourne Renegades back into the BBL finals after three years finishing last.
Squad goals 🤩
A huge congratulations to all players selected in the #BBL12 Team of the Tournament - as voted by the coaches! 👏
What do you think? Did the coaches get it right? Who was stiff to miss out? 💬 pic.twitter.com/2EFeBA9hWn
— KFC Big Bash League (@BBL) January 31, 2023
Steve Smith's BBL dominance earns end of year recognition
Smith's heroics for the Sixers came months after he was left out of the Australian team for last year's T20 World Cup, held on home soil. He made selectors look silly after innings of 101 (56 deliveries) and 125 not out proved he could still be a force in the shortened form of the game.
The prolific Test batter was part of the Aussie squad that failed to make the T20 World Cup semi-finals, but was only used in one out of four matches. Smith's only appearance came against Afghanistan and was left out of the XI for games against New Zealand, Sri Lanka and Ireland.
Selectors preferred the likes of Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Tim David over Smith, thinking his skills in the T20 game weren't up to scratch. However he proved the naysayers wrong in one emphatic 56-ball innings, before following it up with an even more impressive feat just days later.
Meanwhile, Sixers teammate Sean Abbott has been snapped up to play at Surrey, the latest Australian seamer to join the English county circuit this week following news of Peter Siddle's return to Somerset. The 30-year-old Abbott has signed on at the Oval-based county side in a deal until the end of July, meaning he'll be available for fixtures in both the county championship and the T20 Blast competitions.
It will be a second stint at the club for the Sydney Sixers' bowling allrounder and Abbott will definitely be hoping for more luck than his 2021 spell which lasted just one match before a muscle injury wrecked his time there. Having been capped 17 times in white-ball cricket, Surrey see the Aussie international's signing as a coup following a major blow to their attack when England's Jamie Overton sustained a stress fracture in his back.
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