BBL Cricket News: Steve Smith rejects Sixers deal, Chris Lynn agreement reached

Heavy-hitting batsman Chris Lynn and Cricket Australia are one step closer to a compromise on their summer T20 plans, but Steve Smith could still deliver a big blow to the BBL.

Cricket Australia are expected to negotiate a peace deal with Chris Lynn, while Steve Smith has until the 11th hour to play BBL despite refusing to sign with the Sydney Sixers now.

Sources say Lynn could play more than half of the Big Bash season with the Adelaide Strikers before accepting a big money deal in the new T20 league in the United Arab Emirates with CA’s blessing.

The pragmatic compromise CA boss Nick Hockley is working towards would save the game from the prospect of an ugly legal showdown with Lynn, who may have been motivated to contest any move that would prevent him from going to the UAE, as a trade restriction in court.

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It’s not a perfect result for the all-time BBL’s all-time runscorer to drop out of competition mid-season, but it beats the alternative of him playing no role at all in the summer after being dumped in the Brisbane Heat earlier that year and unveiled as a signature by the UAE.

Nothing has been finalized with Lynn, but there is confidence a deal can be struck that gives Lynn and CA enough of what they are both looking for.

The concern would be that the compromise with Lynn could set a dangerous precedent for future Australian stars who have their eye on Dubai big bucks and feel they can have their cake and eat it too, but the Queenslander is a unique one Fall as a 32-year veteran with no local contract binding him.

Cricket Australia is making strides in improving the Big Bash by taking a horses-for-course approach to handling each and every case – with a landmark offer to David Warner to play in the BBL with the Sydney Thunder rather than as a prime example to travel to the UAE.

But another complex case has surfaced in Steve Smith.

The Sydney Sixers had hoped to lock Smith away now but the hitter has told Club Powerbrokers he’s not sure he’ll need a break at this point and so doesn’t want to take a roster spot that could go to one player for the whole Season engaged.

But it also begs the question of whether, like Warner, Smith should be entitled to a boosted contract from CA rather than simply accepting an average deal included in the salary cap.

Whether the Sixers choose to keep a roster for Smith in hopes he’ll change his mind at the end of the summer of testing will depend on how they fare in the upcoming BBL draft on Aug. 28.

If the club feels they have covered all bases in the batting department, the club may decide to go ahead and fill that 18th roster spot with a younger homegrown talent.

But even if the Sixers fill all their spots, CA promises to show their pragmatism with Smith as well and not lock him out should he change his mind and feel like playing a few BBL games.

Last summer, Smith was controversially prevented from signing with the Sixers because rival clubs felt he should have gone into a pool that would have made him available to all teams to play on an equal footing.

But that would not be repeated this summer, and sources say the BBL would find a way to help the Sixers get Smith on their books as a substitute if he changes his mind late in the game.

It’s understood Warner also expressed concerns to the Sydney Thunder about taking up an opportunity that could go to a younger player, but was assured they had the place in their cap – and a gap in the XI – after losing Usman Khawaja in the off-season.

It is believed that speed bowling stars Pat Cummins, Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood will not play BBL due to the workload of the Test summer and the fact that a major Test tour of India will follow immediately in February.

However, Cricket Australia is determined to convince all other Australian Test stars to play.

Marnus Labuschagne joined Khawaja when he signed up for Thursday’s Brisbane Heat, but losing Smith from the competition would be a huge blow.

Originally published as BBL Cricket News: Steve Smith rejects Sixers deal, Chris Lynn reaches settlement BBL Cricket News: Steve Smith rejects Sixers deal, Chris Lynn agreement reached

Nate Jones

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