BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, CMC – A visa hitch is threatening to rule West Indies Twenty20 star Dwayne Smith out of the New Zealand domestic Twenty20 league.
The attacking right-hander agreed a deal with the Canterbury Wizards but has been unable to take up the contract as he struggles to secure clearance to travel from the Caribbean.
Apparently, the delay has been caused by the fact Smith was away from the island representing West Indies in Bangladesh. He was forced to wait until his return home to start the visa application.
Club officials were hopeful Smith would arrive in time for Thursday’s clash against Auckland but are now anxious to have the player available for next Thursday’s fixture against Otago in Timaru. Canterbury Cricket chief executive Lee Germon hinted that if Smith’s visa was not processed by yesterday, the deal would be in jeopardy.
“If he doesn’t receive the visa by Friday their time then we’ll have to reassess because he’d need to be on a plane on Monday to get here in time for the Timaru game,” Germon explained.
If Smith also misses the Otago fixture, there would be just two matches left in Canterbury’s campaign – a double-header against Central Districts on January 1 and 3 – and club officials are not keen on flying in the 29-year-old all-rounder for such a limited stint. Media reports say Canterbury are eyeing an Australian player as a replacement in the event Smith fails to arrive.