Australian vice-captain Steve Smith has reportedly been sensationally denied the right to play for the Sydney Sixers in the Big Bash League finals series.

Smith, who is a former Australian captain and returned to a leadership capacity this summer, is one of the world's best batsmen and a former Sydney Sixers player himself.

The 32-year-old has a total of 224 T20 matches under his belt, of which 52 have been for Australia. In all T20 cricket, he has scored 4659 runs at an average of 30.25 and a strike rate of a tick over 125.

Given some of the Sixers' inconsistencies with the bat this season, it's hardly a surprise the men in magenta wanted to bring him in for the finals following the cancellation of New Zealand's white ball tour to Australia.

The Sixers had indeed left a roster spot open in hopes to play Smith during the finals series, and according to Fox Sports, he had even flown to Melbourne believing the paperwork would be ticked off by Cricket Australia.

It's understood Cricket Australia had a phone hook-up with the remaining state bosses on whether Smith should be allowed to play, with a change of rules needed given players can only currently be picked from the COVID player replacement pool.

The Sixers could have nominated Smith for that pool, however, he was playing for Australia at the time and would have been able to play for any club who needed a replacement, rather than simply play for the Sixers.

A former club captain, the Sixers and Smith are believed to be angry with the decision, which would have added more star power to the closing stages of a tournament which has struggled to capture the public interest.

The Sixers will play the Perth Scorchers on Saturday evening, with the winner going directly to the grand final, and the loser having to play another knockout game on Wednesday evening against the winner of Sunday night's clash between the Sydney Thunder, and the winner of this Friday's match between the Adelaide Strikers and Hobart Hurricanes.