Steve Smith has said he is willing to participate in the Indian Premier League if the T20 World Cup scheduled in Australia does not take place this year.
There is a possibility that the indefinitely postponed IPL could be held in the September-October window if the World Cup is deferred due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Smith, who was named captain of the inaugural IPL winners Rajasthan Royals, said that while he considers national duty to be more important, he would be open to travelling for the IPL if his government allows.
“I think when you’re playing for your country at a World Cup, that’s the pinnacle for one-day or T20 cricket, so of course I’d prefer to play in that,” Smith was quoted as saying by PTI [Press Trust of India].
The Australian batting star was interacting with the media after resuming training with the domestic New South Wales squad following an enforced break from the game.
“But if that doesn’t happen and the IPL’s there, and they postpone it, then so be it. IPL’s also a terrific tournament as a domestic tournament.
“So that’s out of everyone’s control at the moment, players are just doing what we’re told and going where we need to go and playing whatever’s on at that stage.”
Smith's comments mirror the sentiments of compatriot pacer Pat Cummins, who also declared his support for the IPL to fill the T20 World Cup void should the global event be cancelled. The duo's willingness to play the cash-rich Indian T20 league suggests they could miss the initial part of the upcoming Sheffield Shield.
The International Cricket Council has not yet decided on the fate of the showpiece tournament with the matter to be discussed during the June 10 meeting amongst the top brass.
“I personally haven’t really thought about it, I think it’d just be going off the advice of the professionals and the governments and essentially doing what we’re told," he added.
“If that happens then great, if not then there’s just so much going on in the world right now that cricket kind of seems a little bit irrelevant. So we’ll get back when we’re told to and until then sit tight, get fit and strong and freshen up mentally."
Asked about the recently proposed ban on the use of saliva on the cricket ball, Smith admitted this habit would be hard to let go. He felt this arrangement would definitely tilt the sport further in the favour of the batters.
“I’ve always been one to want a fair contest between bat and ball, so if that’s taken away, even as a batter I don’t think that’s great. Whether they can find other ways with certain things, it’ll be hard.
“I actually spit on my hands most balls and that’s how I get grip and stuff. So that might take some adjusting to certain things like that, but that’s something for the ICC to figure out what they want to do going forward and different regulations,” he said.
Smith expressed his commitment to Australia's international calendar, accepting that a largely compressed schedule would be required to ensure the first edition of the World Test Championship finishes on time.
“It’d be ideal if we can keep that going. It’s the first one we’ve had and we’re all working towards hopefully playing at Lord’s in mid-June , we were all working towards that...
”...so it’d be good if we could carry on with that, but I don’t know, everything is sort of up in the air at the moment with everything going on around the world. So we’ll wait and see where everything lands."