Steven Smith, Australian all-rounder, is very close to get finalized for the deal with Pune Warriors, Indian Premier League (IPL) franchise, for 5th edition of the lucrative IPL, beginning on 4 April, 2012.
Smith, 22-year-old cricketer from New South Wales, had refused the Indian Premier League’s auction held on 4 February, but later he sorted out the issues with the BCCI (Board of Control for Cricket in India), and accepted to play for Sahara based franchise, Pune Warriors for this edition.
On a social networking site, Smith said, “I am delighted to join the Pune Warriors for the upcoming IPL season this year.”
Reliable source from internal side of the franchise has revealed that the contract is almost in the course, and just a formal signature is everything that left. Steven, a right-handed hard-hitting batsman and a helpful leg-spinner, played for the now non-operational Kerala’s franchise, the Kochi Tuskers previous edition. However, the player missed the edition because of his injured ankle that required surgery. This edition he was the first player from Kochi up for IPL auction, but no one bought him away.
He had an outstanding Big Bash League turn with the team Sydney Sixers earlier this year; at the end of the season his strike rate was 130.70. He also pitched 6 wickets with a bowling average of 21.50, and the economy rate was 8.06 per over.
At the same time, Sahara based Pune Warriors has also contracted Luke Wright, the Sussex all-rounder for the IPL-5. His deal with the Warriors implies that he will not be available to his nation, for minimum of 6 County Championship matches.
As per IPL rules, franchises are allowed to sign up to 4 players for the edition and the Pune Warriors have already filled up the slots. The other two foreign players for the coming season include Marlon Samuels from West Indies and James Hopes from Australia.