On the outer ... Steve Smith and David Warner.
On the outer ... Steve Smith and David Warner.

Tamper trio consider Top End comeback

NORTHERN Territory Cricket expects to find out in the next fortnight whether the Cape Town ball-tampering scandal results in suspended Test stars David Warner, Steve Smith and Cameron Bancroft playing in Darwin.

The fact that Top End sport seasons are opposite to most of the country - with football in summer and cricket in winter - is to the NT's advantage as it tries to lure the trio to their July Strike League.

NT Cricket chief executive Joel Morrison is optimistic that Warner, who he met during his recent visit to conduct coaching clinics, will head north again in a few months.

"His interest is genuine, he is absolutely interested and we are exploring the possibility of him playing in the Strike League," Morrison said

"I'd say it's been very encouraging ... so we'll see what transpires over the course of the next couple of weeks."

Morrison spoke to Warner and his management before the opening batsman headed to Arnhem Land's remote Aboriginal communities.

Bancroft, whose suspension was three months short of Smith and Warner's one-year bans, had also expressed a "genuine interest" in playing.

The possibility of sacked Test captain Smith also joining them hadn't been ruled out.

A lifeline has been offered.
A lifeline has been offered.

Darwin's Strike League - a combination of one-day and T20 cricket - is well- regarded with first-class players such as Jake Weatherald, D'Arcy Short and Jake Lehmann participating.

Morrison said Cricket Australia encouraged the three banned players to go back and play club cricket.

Warner's South African tour was particularly controversial, having been involved in a verbal altercation with Proteas wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock in Port Elizabeth before the saga of the ball-scuffing.

Morrison said Warner enjoyed the chance to get away to the Northern Territory and was warmly received at coaching clinics with children and a women's team.

"We're very grateful he's been so willing to give some time to the local cricket community, I think he's enjoyed his time so far," he said.


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