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Australia great batsman Steve Smith has confirmed that he will play three matches for Sussex in the upcoming County Championship. The decision was made to prepare himself well for the possible World Test Championship final and the upcoming Ashes, which is set to begin on June 16 at Edgbaston.
Notably, the 33-year-old has played domestic T20 matches in the United Kingdom but has never featured in county cricket. Former England captain, Michael Vaughan was delighted with the news and called it ‘a fantastic signing in our game’.
Some English fans, however, were very disappointed with Steve joining Sussex just before the all-important Ashes. They termed the team ‘betrayal’ for giving Smith playing time ahead of the big series and also said how it would benefit him. Australia Cricketer in five match series.
The controversy over hosting rival players in domestic matches before the Ashes series has long been an issue. Former England coach, Trevor Bayliss, in 2021, even said that Australia’s Sheffield Shield teams would never rush to sign English cricketers before the Ashes series in Australia.
Steve, however, is not disturbed by the outside noise. He said playing in the county would make no difference as he would just play there to enjoy his game.
“Not really. I’ve played there a lot. I don’t think it’s going to change much. I’m just going to play some cricket and have some fun. I don’t think it makes a real difference,” Smith said.
Smudge added, “India and the Ashes are the biggest obstacles as an Australian cricketer. It should be good fun to have a bit of a break after the India series and then play some games for Sussex.”
“I was in touch with Sussex’s head of cricket, Paul Farbrace, last night. They’ve got me excited for a couple of games. Hopefully, I’ll be able to spend some time with some of their young batsmen and give them advice and share my. experience with them, ” he concluded.
Here’s how Twitter responded –
Hope you spend your 30 silver pieces wisely.
It could be freezing cold and torrential rain for these 3 fixtures and the groundsman of the away fixture could produce a beautiful green top that would swing massively. COYB 🐻
— Gary Moss (@Mossy55018) January 19, 2023
Sussex County Cricket Club. Betrayer of English cricket
— mountain 🇬🇧 (@1969hedgehog) January 19, 2023
There’s no way Sheffield Steel will let Root play a few games before the Ashes series
— Mark Welburn (@MrWelburn) January 19, 2023
I guess it’s to help you condition yourself for the English summer and practice against it @JofraArcher
I don’t think so @EnglandCricket will be happy
Giving him that opportunity was a strange decision.
— Joman Clark (@granny_gears) January 19, 2023
So you’re going to help him prepare for the Ashes!! It beggars belief. Can you imagine an Australian state team giving an England batsman a similar opportunity?
— John Stephen (@JohnJSSTFC) January 19, 2023
It will be interesting to see how Smith copes with the English fans during his tenure in the country.