Mumbai: Former Australia captain Steve Smith and vice-captain David Warner have been retained by their respective Indian Premier League (IPL) franchises after the duo missed the previous edition following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
The pair are serving year-long bans for their part in the Cape Town incident in March and were barred from the 2018 IPL tournament.
The 12th edition of the lucrative Twenty20 league will be played from March 29 to May 19, having been brought forward because of the 50-over World Cup in England, which begins on May 30.
The batsmen’s bans will end on the same day the tournament starts and they could end up playing in the IPL before their compatriots after Cricket Australia (CA) imposed a series of conditions for the participation of contracted players.
Australian cricketers need to receive permission from their home board and must be available to play at the World Cup and on the Ashes tour of England that follows in August and September.
15 players selected
CA said players involved in the Sheffield Shield final will only be released once that concludes on April 1, while the 15 players selected to defend the World Cup must attend a mandatory training camp in early May and play warm-up matches.
Smith has also been banned from taking on a leadership position for an additional 12 months and Warner, who led the Sunrisers Hyderabad to a maiden IPL title in 2016, will not be allowed to serve in an Australian leadership position again.
Sunrisers released India’s Test wicketkeeper Wriddhiman Saha, Englishmen Alex Hales and Chris Jordan, and West Indian T20 captain Carlos Brathwaite.
They retained six overseas players in Billy Stanlake, Kane Williamson and the all-round trio of Shakib Al Hasan, Rashid Khan and Mohammad Nabi.
The Royals released pacer Jaydev Unadkat, along with Aussie opener D’Arcy Short, fast-medium bowler Ben Laughlin and South African wicketkeeper-batsman Heinrich Klaasen.
Kolkata Knight Riders (KKR) released Mitchell Johnson, Tom Curran, Cameron Delport and Javon Searles.
Apoorv Wankhede, Vinay Kumar and Ishank Jaggi were the Indian players released from the side as the franchise retained its core and a total of 13 players.
Kuldeep Yadav, Robin Uthappa and Piyush Chawla will continue their association with the purple brigade.
Overseas stars such as Chris Lynn, Andre Russell and Sunil Narine have also been retained.
Australia pacer Mitchell Starc was on Wednesday released by KKR.
Royal Challengers Bangalore released big guns in former New Zealand skipper Brendon McCullum, all-rounders Corey Anderson and Chris Woakes while welcoming another all-rounder Marcus Stoinis.
The Virat Kohli-led franchise brought in Australian Stoinis from the Kings XI Punjab. RCB also traded out South African wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock to the Mumbai Indians.
Besides the skipper, the franchise retained former Proteas captain AB de Villiers and New Zealand quick Tim Southee.
Delhi Daredevils on Thursday retained a young side comprising the likes of Shreyas Iyer, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant while releasing big names like Gautam Gambhir, Glenn Maxwell and pacer Mohammed Shami.
Kings XI Punjab on Thursday parted ways with local boy and India’s 2011 World Cup hero Yuvraj Singh along with eight other players that include Australia’s limited overs skipper Aaron Finch.
Australia quick Pat Cummins and star Bangladesh pacer Mustafizur Rahman were among the players released by Mumbai Indians.