Smith and Ponting Team Up at Washington Freedom for MLC 2024

Smith & Ponting Unite for MLC 2024: Washington Freedom's Power Duo!

Smith and Ponting Team Up at Washington Freedom for MLC 2024

Steve Smith, who served as the ambassador for Washington Freedom last season, will now join the team as a player in the upcoming Major League Cricket 2024.

Smith will be joining forces with Ricky Ponting, who was appointed as the head coach for Washington Freedom earlier this year.

“I’m thrilled to be joining Washington Freedom for the second season of the MLC,” Smith expressed in a video shared on the team’s social media channels. “I’m eager to meet my new teammates and play in front of the enthusiastic American crowds.”

“I’m also looking forward to working with Ricky Ponting and his exceptional staff,” he added.

Excited to see you in Freedom colors, mate!
See you soon, Smudge! #WashingtonFreedom #MLC2024 #SteveSmith

In a recent episode of the ICC Review, Ricky Ponting discussed the potential for exponential growth in cricket in the USA, citing the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup and Major League Cricket as catalysts.

“I believe there’s a fantastic opportunity to continue growing and promoting the game in the USA,” Ponting stated. “That’s a significant reason why I accepted the coaching job at Washington Freedom, to be part of this movement to expand the game in the US,” he added.

“There’s a large number of expat Indians, West Indians, Pakistanis, Sri Lankans, and Afghans in the USA who we know will continue to promote the game. Our task is to get Americans to love and understand cricket,” Ponting explained.

“I believe cricket can become really big in the USA, and it can happen quite quickly,” he concluded.

ALSO READ: Ponting sees strong possibility of quick growth in cricket in the USA

A post shared by ICC (@icc)

MLC has successfully attracted top international stars, with Washington signing up-and-coming Kiwi star Rachin Ravindra alongside retained players Akeal Hossein and Marco Jansen from last season.

Smith will be a part of a strong Aussie contingent at the MLC, with Adam Zampa (Los Angeles Knight Riders), Spencer Johnson (Knight Riders) and Tim David (MI New York) set to play in the upcoming season. The tournament will commence on 4 July right after the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup 2024, which ends on 29 June.

Smith will be fighting for a spot in the T20 World Cup squad, though he will face stiff competition from the likes of David Warner, Travis Head and Mitchell Marsh, all of whom have staked claims for top-order spots in the Australian lineup.

Ponting backs Smith for T20 World Cup spot, Marsh as captain

Smith hasn’t featured regularly for Australia in the shortest format, playing only four T20Is since the start of 2023. He opened the batting in the recent series against New Zealand in February, though he returned scores of 11 and 4 in the two games.

While Ponting highlighted the potential value of Smith’s experience to the Australian squad on ICC Review, the 34-year-old remains nonchalant about selection, as he expressed in the aftermath of the New Zealand series.

“I think they’re pretty settled up top – to be honest – with [Travis] Head, [David] Warner and [Mitchell] Marsh in the top three,” he told AAP. “I’m not really sure what [selectors] want to do. I’m not really too fussed either way. If I’m there, I’m there; if I’m not, I’m not.”

Australia are placed in Group B alongside England, Namibia, Scotland and Oman. Their T20 World Cup campaign will begin on 5 June when they take on Oman at the Kensington Oval in Barbados.