The BCB has upheld the BPL governing council's decision to not allow Steven Smith from playing in this season's BPL. The BPL has written to Comilla Victorians, for whom Smith had signed, saying that the majority of the franchises were "not in favour of" including Smith from outside the players' draft list as a replacement player. Smith had been signed by Comilla as Asela Gunaratne's replacement.
Smith's exclusion comes in the wake of his tarnished image after the ball-tampering scandal in Cape Town earlier this year, which led to him being banned from international and Australian domestic cricket for a year. He was barred from playing in the IPL but participated in the Global T20 Canada league and the Caribbean Premier League in July-August and also led his grade side, Sutherland, to the New South Wales Premier T20 title at the SCG last week.
ESPNcricinfo obtained the letter written by the BCB to Comilla Victorians that says that after the franchises did not agree with Smith's inclusion during the December 11 meeting held at the BCB's Mirpur headquarters, the decision was referred to the BCB who upheld the earlier pronouncement.
The letter said: "Given that the Players' Draft Rules does not allow any franchisee to replace any directly signed player from outside the players' Draft list and in view of the decisions taken by majority of the Franchisees on 11.12.2018, the Board has upheld the decision of BPL Governing Council to withdraw the inclusion of Mr. Steve Smith in Comilla Victorians for upcoming 6th edition of BPL T20 tournament 2019. In view of the above, Mr. Smith will not be eligible to register for Comilla Victorians for the 6th edition of BPL T20 tournament 2019."
ESPNcricinfo understands that Comilla wanted Smith as replacement for Shoaib Malik, who was unavailable for much of the BPL. When other franchises objected to this replacement, Comilla signed Smith as a replacement for Gunaratne, who was then playing the Emerging Nations Cup. The franchises then apparently pointed that out to the BCB as well with an objection.
Comilla Victorians have not made a comment on the issue yet.