(TORONTO STAR) – West Indies cricket star Darren Sammy says he has no problem playing with disgraced former Australia skipper Steve Smith in the Global T20 Canada tournament.
Sammy and Smith were the top two players drafted by the Toronto Nationals, one of six teams slated to take part in the June 28-July 15 event in King City north of Toronto.
“Look, we all have done our fair share of mistakes in life and not just sports,” Sammy told a media conference call Monday. “Obviously Steve Smith is an amazing cricketer, someone I would have on my team any day.
“Obviously as captain of a national team you have certain responsibilities that you have to own up for the team. And I was commended by his efforts in taking responsibility for his actions on the field. Look, we are all not saints. I’m just happy to have a player of such calibre on my team.”
Sammy said he had no plans to bring up the matter with Smith, saying he just wanted the Australian’s experience, leadership and skills on the field.
Smith and fellow Aussie cricketer David Warner, the third pick of the Winnipeg Hawks, have been banned by Cricket Australia for a year for their involvement in a high-profile ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.
Along with Cameron Bancroft, who was suspended for nine months, the two are banned from all international cricket and domestic cricket in Australia but can still play at the club level elsewhere.
Despite that, Smith and Warner reportedly lost their Indian Premier League contracts valued at $2.4-million apiece. Top pay for the Canadian event is $100,000, according to tournament director Jason Harper.
Sammy, a native of St. Lucia who has never been to Canada, said the Canadian competition is an “amazing opportunity” to showcase the sport.
“I’m really really excited about the tournament and I really hope it’s a success.”
Sammy, 34, captained the West Indies to victory in the 2012 ICC World Twenty20.
Global T20 Canada is the brainchild of the Mercuri Group, an Indian company that struck a deal with Cricket Canada to stage the event.
The T20 game is a faster, more action-packed version of cricket with each team batting for just 20 overs.