Steve Smith, the former Australia captain, is hoping to sign a short-term deal with a county side as he looks for red-ball match practice ahead of the five-Test Ashes series, beginning on August 1 in Birmingham.
The 29-year-old hasn’t played red-ball cricket since being handed a 12-month ban by Cricket Australia for his role in the ball-tampering scandal in March last year. The ban lapses on March 29, and he’ll be available for selection again.
According to a report in The Times, Smith’s representatives have approached Middlesex, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Yorkshire for a short-term deal. It is not yet clear whether any offer has been made.
Any deal would have to take into account Smith’s expected participation in the 2019 World Cup. The tournament begins on May 30, and if Australia reach the final, Smith will likely be occupied till July 14 at the very least. He will only be able to play county cricket after that.
The county season will begin in April, and Smith will miss the first part of the competition since he is set to represent Rajasthan Royals in the 12th edition of the Indian Premier League later this month.
Any deal between Smith and a county will also have to be approved by the England and Wales Cricket Board before the player can be registered.