Former Australian Test skipper Steve Smith is reportedly in talks with the Sussex Cricket County Club over a potential short-term deal ahead of the Ashes 2023, which begins in June 2023.
The ace batter has a brief window between the Border-Gavaskar Trophy and the World Test Championship (WTC) final.
He did not enter his name for the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2023 final, giving him uninterrupted two-and-a-half months to prepare for the English conditions that apart from the WTC final, will also play host to Ashes 2023.
According to a report by The Sydney Morning Herald, while Smith brings a certain appeal to several county sides, the prospect of a very short-term deal was only entertained by select county sides.
He is set to miss up to four matches in February-March 2023 as it clashes with Australia's four-match Test series against India in the subcontinent. The report stated:
"Smith’s management confirmed discussions were taking place with Sussex, as well as other county teams, but said no contract had been signed yet."
He is set to reprise his role with the Sydney Sixers as he is available following the culmination of the three-match Test series against South Africa at home. He is in line to play his first BBL match in three years and is expected to play a handful of matches before the Australian side departs for India.
Steve Smith represented Worcestershire in 2011
The former skipper holds a British passport courtesy of his English mother. He had a brief stint with Worcestershire as a youngster, where he played in the T20 Blast.
He later on went on to secure a spot in Surrey’s Second XI and was even offered a senior contract for Surrey. However, he chose to turn it down and instead accept an offer from New South Wales. Expressing his desire to win in India and England, Steve Smith said:
“It should be a good six months or cricket with India and then the Ashes. As an Australian cricketer, they’re the two biggest hurdles. It’s going to be exciting.”
The majority of counties have already secured their overseas signings for the season. A select number of sides still have a couple of slots left to accommodate international players.
Smith expects to partake in at least three to four games in a tight window, allowing him to adjust to English conditions, where he had a huge impact last time.
Coming off a one-year ban for his involvement in the ball-tampering saga, the right-handed batter had a monumental campaign with the bat in the iconic 2-2 series draw.
Will the former captain's upcoming county stint help him prepare for the Ashes better? Let us know what you think.
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