For the first time in his glittering career, Steve Smith is reportedly set to play county cricket as he ramps up his preparations for the Ashes series.
Australia will head over to England to contest the Ashes in the English summer, with the First Test scheduled to begin on June 16.
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The Aussies will look to retain the urn for the fourth straight iteration of the famous series after decimating the Poms 4-0 when they toured Down Under in the summer of 2021 and 2022.
However, counting in the Poms’ favour is the fact Australia has not won an Ashes series on English soil since 2001.
It is a streak Smith and his teammates are out to snap, so much so that the superstar batsman will play county cricket to prepare himself in the best way possible.
According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Smith is in “advanced negotiations” to sign with Sussex, who boast star English bowlers Ollie Robinson and Jofra Archer in their ranks.
The report also notes Smith is in negotiations with several other county teams, but nothing has been finalised.
Smith told The Herald he could fit “three or four” county games before linking back up with the Australian Test squad ahead of a likely appearance in the Test Championship final which takes place in June.
The 33-year-old wouldn’t be the first Aussie to represent Sussex in county cricket, with fellow Test stars Alex Carey and Travis Head just two of several others to have played for the team.
The news of Smith playing in the English domestic set-up wasn’t exactly music to skipper Ben Stokes’ ears.
“I guess it’s good for the county game to see players of Steve’s calibre want to come over and play,” Stokes told reporters in December.
“But I don’t know. I think it’s one of those where you’d probably prefer them not to get any game time out here before the Ashes.
“But at the same time, it is what it is.”
Originally published as Smith set for major career-first that will send Ashes chills down English spines