Disgraced former Australia cricket captain Steve Smith is set to return to the sport after being named a marquee player for the Global T20 in Canada.
The batsman will headline the league alongside a crop of big names including fellow Australia international Chris Lynn and a number of West Indies stars.
Smith, who was sacked as captain and banned for a year over a ball-tampering plot, has been cleared to play in domestic tournaments outside Australia by its cricket governing body.
According to cricket.com.au, David Warner has also been tipped to join the tournament, which begins on June 28.
Warner, like his former skipper, is suspended from professional cricket following the controversy which engulfed the Cape Town Test against South Africa in March.
The opener, who is banned from state and international cricket, is due to play domestic matches for Sydney grade club Randwick Petersham in the autumn.
Cameron Bancroft, who was banned for nine months over his part in the ball-tampering scandal, has also been cleared to play grade cricket.
The affair also led to the departure of head coach Darren Lehmann and an intense period of soul-searching among the Australian cricket community.
Earlier this month Smith announced he had returned Down Under after spending time in the US and vowed to win back the trust of his country.
“I have had some time away to come to terms with everything and now it’s time to get back into it,” he said.
The Toronto tournament will comprise six teams due to be announced on May 30.
Five of the six teams will represent Canadian cities – Edmonton Royals, Montreal Tigers, Toronto Nationals, Vancouver Knights and Winnipeg Hawks.
A cricket West Indies representative team, including Chris Gayle, Andre Russell, Darren Sammy and Dwayne Bravo, will complete the field.
Other international players on the marquee list are South African David Miller, Sri Lankan Lasith Malinga and former Pakistan captain Shahid Afridi.
The teams will play 22 matches culminating in playoffs and a championship match will be held on July 16.
Cricket Australia clinched a major sponsorship deal, defying any concerns over a possible fall-out from the ball-tampering scandal earlier in the year.
Alinta Energy signed a four-year shirt sponsorship deal with the Australian board on Wednesday. The Western Australia-based company secured rights to have its name on shirts for all international matches played in Australia.
According to AFP, Alinta Energy replaced Qantas Airways even as the carrier remained a sponsor for overseas tours.
The ball-tampering scandal in South Africa this year led to bans for then captain Steve Smith, David Warner and batsman Cameron Bancroft.
In the aftermath, fund manager Magellan ended its contract for Australia’s domestic Tests matches.
However, Alinta Energy chief Jeff Dimery said: “Australian cricket is an institution that will continue to engage and inspire us, and we’re proud to be backing the sport from the community to elite level for the next four years.”
Earlier, Cricket Australia had sold its domestic cricket broadcast rights to Fox Sports and Seven for a record $918 million in a six year deal.
The opening batsman was banned from domestic and international cricket for nine months for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa in March.
But the Western Australia Cricket Association has cleared the 25-year-old to turn out for Willetton during the 2018/19 season.
A WACA tweet read: “The WADCC has granted Cameron Bancroft an exemption to play Premier Cricket for Willetton during the 2018-19 season.”
The WADCC has granted Cameron Bancroft an exemption to play Premier Cricket for Willetton during the 2018-19 season. @WAPremCricket— WACA (@WACA_Cricket) May 14, 2018
Bancroft incurred the suspension from Cricket Australia for his part in the ball-tampering controversy which engulfed Steve Smith’s tourists during the Cape Town Test against South Africa two months ago.
Captain Smith and his deputy David Warner were both banned from international and domestic cricket for a year after a plan was hatched to alter the condition of the ball at Newlands.
They are clear to play for their club sides in New South Wales, but a quirk of state association rules in Western Australia meant Bancroft needed an exemption to do so at the start of next season.
WACA chief executive Christina Matthews told Cricket Australia’s website: “I’m pleased to announce the Western Australia District cricket Council tonight approved Willetton’s application for an exemption to the rule that prevented Cameron from playing Premier cricket this season.
“It was strongly debated across a number of areas, but ultimately approved. It’s great news for Cameron, and I’d like to congratulate the WADCC on their decision.”