Australian batsman David Warner has agreed to join St Lucia Stars for the 2018 Hero Caribbean Premier League.
He will participate in the CPL for the first time after replacing fellow Australian D’Arcy Short, who has been called up for Australia A’s tour of India, in the Stars line-up.
The 31-year-old is banned from playing international or state cricket due to his role in the ball-tampering scandal during Australia’s Test against South Africa at Newlands in March.
Mohammad Khan, Stars’ General Manager, said: “We are excited to bring David to the Saint Lucia Stars. David is arguably one of the greatest batsman of the modern era and a winning player. He is going to add a lot of value on the field and in the dressing room as we pursue our first Hero CPL Title.”
Warner, along with fellow banned team-mate Cameron Bancroft, has already agreed to play grade cricket as well as a limited-overs tournament in Darwin in July.
St Lucia Stars will open their campaign against defending champions Trinbago Knight Riders on August 8. The last time Warner played in the Caribbean he plundered 109 in a ODI against South Africa in 2016.
The tourists, striving to remain competitive as well as good-humoured despite the absence of key players through injury and suspension this summer, were bowled out for a paltry 214 at The Oval on Wednesday.
England, however, were then hardly impressive with the bat either as they scrambled a three-wicket win – albeit with six overs to spare.
The task facing new captain and coach Tim Paine and Justin Langer respectively is an unenviable one as Australia try to win back friends – and a few cricket matches along the way – without the banned Steve Smith and David Warner.
Paine’s predecessor Smith and his deputy Warner are serving year-long bans for their part in the ball-tampering controversy which marred Australia’s Test tour of South Africa in March.
Without them, others have yet to prove they can make up the shortfall in runs.
But Maxwell, top-scorer two days ago with 62, was encouraged by Australia’s sterling attempt to defend a paltry target.
“To be able to push England as far as we did with such a below-par total gives us a lot of confidence,” he said. “We couldn’t have batted much worse, but we still gave ourselves a chance at the end.”
As for his own performance, he added: “I left 13 or 14 overs out there. But having said that, I felt I hit the ball well and stuck to my strengths.
“I hope it is a building block for the rest of the tournament. It’s a start. But the team is looking for big hundreds and match-winning scores – and 60s are not match-winning scores.”
Maxwell is out to restate his international ambitions after failing to impress Smith at times with his practice methods.
He said: “I’ve continued to train as hard as I can, try to be the number one trainer for everyone else to aspire to. If I can continue to lead the way on the training track, then I hope that leads to results on the field.”
Disgraced former vice-captain Warner will join Nine Network’s commentary team for Australia’s second one-day international against England, in Cardiff on Saturday.
Skipper Steve Smith and deputy Warner were banned for a year over the ball-tampering incident in March’s third Test against South Africa. Cameron Bancroft – who doctored a ball with sandpaper amid South Africa’s 322-run win in Cape Town – was also banned for nine months by Cricket Australia, and head coach Darren Lehmann stepped down at the end of the series.
Warner has opted to take up a punditry role just three months after the scandal – and spinner Agar has backed that decision.
“There probably hasn’t really been a lot of talk about it,” Agar said of Warner’s decision to take up a commentary job. “But personally I think it’s a great thing for him to be back around cricket.
“He would have been hurt, and his family too. So for him to be back around the game he loves will be important.”
Australia will launch the five-match series against England with Wednesday’s clash at Lord’s, with Agar hoping the tourists can exploit their hosts’ shock defeat to Scotland in Edinburgh.
Agar believes Australia can pounce on uncertainty created by England’s six-run loss to the Scots on Sunday, when Calum MacLeod blasted a match-winning 140 not out.
Asked if England will suffer a dent in confidence after Sunday, Agar replied: “I hope so. I think we’ve got momentum coming into these tours and to play a couple of practice games and get a couple of wins is great for us. It’s great England didn’t win (on Sunday) because you always like to start with a win.
“It was an interesting game (on Sunday). First of all, it’s great for Scotland. As a 50-over nation, it’s really exciting for them.”
Asked if the Scotland defeat exposed some cracks in England’s bowling attack, Agar continued: “Potentially. I didn’t watch it as closely as I could have. At the end, England didn’t really finish the job. They’re a really dangerous side, though, and you can’t ever take a side like that lightly. We need to bring our A-game and be ready to go.”