Steve Smith will adapt to English conditions and Duke’s ball ahead of the Ashes after signing a short-term deal with Sussex.
The Australian batsman will play three matches for Hove County before the series opener against England at Edgbaston from June 16.
Smith will be available for Sussex’s matches against Worcestershire (from May 4), Leicestershire (from May 11) and Glamorgan (from May 18).
Men’s Ashes Schedule 2023
- First Test (Edgbaston) – June 16-20
- Second Test (of the Lord) – June 28 to July 2
- Third Test (Hedley) – July 6-10
- 4th Test (Emirates Old Trafford) – July 19-23
- Fifth Test (What Oval) – July 27-31
The 33-year-old said: “I’m excited to join Sussex and hopefully contribute to a successful season. I’m particularly looking forward to working with the young players in the squad and hopefully giving them some guidance.” I can provide.”
Sussex CEO Rob Andrews said of Smith’s signing: “We are very excited. Having the best batsman in the world playing for Sussex just before the Ashes Test series is great for us and the County Championship.
“To be able to attract a player of Steve’s caliber is a huge statement and will be of great benefit to our crop of young domestic players, particularly our talented young batsmen.”
Smith – the No. 2-ranked Test batsman behind fellow Australian Marence Lebuschagne – averages 59.55 in 16 Tests in England, with six centuries, including two double centuries and seven half-centuries.
He scored 774 runs at an average of 110.57 in the 2019 Ashes series in England, which ended in a 2–2 draw.
After the opening Ashes Test of 2023 at Edgbaston, Australia will play England at Lord’s (from 28 June), Headingley (from 6 July), Emirates Old Trafford (from 19 July) and The Kia Oval (from 27 July).
England Test captain Ben Stokes said in December that he would prefer Smith to have no preparation time in county cricket.
The all-rounder said: “It’s good for the county game that players of Steve’s caliber want to come and play. But I don’t know. It’s one of those where you’d probably prefer him to play in any game in England. Don’t take the time. Before the Ashes. That’s it.”
However, Mo Bobbitt, the ECB’s performance director, recently said: “Any good player coming into our domestic system will raise the bar. It’s good in many ways.
“It’s good for our bowlers to bowl to Steve Smith, and it’s good for the young batsmen to see him play and bat with him.
It is disappointing that our players are not getting the same opportunities abroad. I would love to get more of my players into first-class cricket overseas. This is notoriously difficult.
“You could argue it helps him prepare and it could represent a loss for England. I don’t spend too much time thinking about it.
“We only worry about what we can control. If we play to our potential, we are a match for anyone and we can challenge anyone.”
It will be the 33-year-old Smith’s first game against the red ball in county cricket in Sussex when he played exclusively T20 cricket for Worcestershire in 2010.
Watch The Ashes live on Sky Sports during June and July.
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