Steve Smith drives for Sutherland during the NSW T20 Cup. Picture: JOEL CARRETT (AAP).
Steve Smith drives for Sutherland during the NSW T20 Cup. Picture: JOEL CARRETT (AAP).

Smith to lead way at T20 champs — as coach

He is not fit enough to play but former Australian captain Steve Smith will still be a major drawcard at the inaugural National Premier Twenty20 Cricket Championships in Adelaide next week.

Smith - sidelined following elbow surgery after he was hurt playing in the Bangladesh Premier League - will coach his Sydney club side, Sutherland, at the championships, which will be held on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Banned from the national team for 12 months for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa last year, Smith will take over the coaching reins from regular T20 coach, former Australian wicketkeeper Steve Rixon, who is working as fielding coach with Sri Lanka in South Africa.

Sutherland team manager Tom Iceton said Smith had put his hand up to coach his premier club after playing a key role with the bat in its march to winning the NSW Premier Cricket T20 title in December, which saw it qualify for the national championships.

"Obviously we would have loved Smithy to have played for us, so he is a big out, but having him down in Adelaide as coach will be fantastic for our team,'' Iceton said.

"He's obviously got a lot of T20 experience and to have him there providing advice will be a great help to our boys.

"When I let the team know that Steve was going to coach them they were all very excited.''

Iceton said Smith only confirmed his availability this week because of his various commitments.

"He always wanted to come to Adelaide but he wasn't sure how he was going to be placed but he gave me the good news and I was able to pass that on to the boys,'' he said.

"He really embraced being back playing with the club in the first half of the season, playing everything up until Christmas, and he was particularly excited when we won the T20 competition because that was the first premiership he's won with the club.

"Steve only knew a couple of the guys at the start of the season but he's got to know them all very well now and it's going to be great to have him with us.''

Former Test all-rounder Shane Watson also plays at Sutherland but will be unavailable for the Australian club T20 tournament because he is playing in the Pakistan Super League.

Sydney Sixers quick Ben Dwarshuis also is a Shark but has been ruled out with a back injury.

"We could have had Smith, Watson and Dwarshuis playing for us with Rixon as coach, which would have been great, but we still think we'll field a strong, competitive side,'' Iceton said.

Australian under-19 player Austin Waugh - son of Australian Test legend Steve Waugh - will play for Sutherland.

South Australia will be represented by East Torrens in the 10-team finals.