Steve Smith
Steve Smith- Photograph: David Gray/AFP/Getty Images

Steve Smith has secured a deal with Sussex that will see him play three matches ahead of the Ashes 2023, which is slated to begin on June 16. A number of Australian players are reportedly interested in partaking in the County Championship in a short-term pre-Ashes spell.

There has been a mixed reaction from the England front over Steve Smith’s deal with Sussex, which will give him time to prepare and acclimatize to the English conditions ahead of the crucial five-match Test series. Steve Smith averages 60.89 in 92 Tests amassing 8647 runs.

Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)
Steve Smith (Image Credit: Twitter)

Steve Smith Will Play For Sussex While Mitchell Starc And Lance Morris Approached By County Teams

According to a report, apart from the former Australian skipper, pacers Mitchell Starc and Lance Morris have been approached by the county teams. The left-arm pacer has a window after the Border-Gavaskar Trophy against India as he has once again opted out of the Indian Premier League (IPL) 2022.

Australia's Mitchell Starc
Australia’s Mitchell Starc Image Credit: AFP

Several Australian batters, namely Usman Khawaja, Travis Head, and Matt Renshaw, are also eyeing a stint in England. The trio have considerable experience after representing multiple county sides over the course of their careers.

Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser are certainties for the County Championship having already secured a deal with Glamorgan. The No.1-ranked Test batter returns for a fourth stint with the side while Marcus Harris, who is currently out of contention, will also reprise his stint with Gloucestershire.

Steve Smith Excited To Join Sussex Before Australia Aims To Win Ashes In England In 22 Years

The former Australian skipper Steve Smith is having a stint to remember with the Sydney Sixers in the ongoing Big Bash League (BBL). He scored back-to-back hundreds and is already the leading six-hitter in the competition despite only playing four matches.

Steve Smith smashed 66 runs off 33 balls against Hobart Hurricanes to help Sydney Sixers consolidate their position at the second spot on the points table. The senior batter was named Player of the Match as Sixers won the match by 24 runs. In the bizarre series of events, Steve Smith collected 16 runs off just 1 legal delivery against Joel Paris in Hobart.

He has a crucial Border-Gavaskar Trophy to look forward to, which will be followed by the World Test Championship (WTC) final as well.

Commenting on his deal with Sussex, Steve Smith said: “I am excited about joining Sussex for a few games in May and hopefully making a contribution to a successful season. I am particularly looking forward to working with the younger players in the squad and hoping I can provide some guidance to them.”

Cheteshwar Pujara
Cheteshwar Pujara (Credits: Twitter)

He could potentially be joined by Team India’s Cheteshwar Pujara as well during his time with Sussex. Valuable time in English conditions could only help Steve Smith’s cause as Australia aim to win a series in England for the first time in 22 years.

Cheteshwar Pujara had a sensational stint in the County Championship Division Two, where he was the second-highest run-getter with 1094 runs in 13 innings at an average of 109.40. He registered a total of five 100+ scores, including included 3 double-hundreds. He was again the second-highest run-getter in the Royal London One Day Cup 2022 with 624 runs in 9 games at 89.14.

The ace batter had a spectacular campaign during the Aussies’ last trip to England. He scored 774 runs in seven innings over the course of the series, marking his return to red-ball cricket after a year-long ban in 2018. Despite his heroics, Australia could only return with a 2-2 draw.