Ashes 2023: Steve Smith arrives in England for his county cricket stint


Steve Smith has already had banter with Ashes villain Stuart Broad and been bowled by England quick Ollie Robinson in the nets after arriving for his county cricket stint ahead of what could “potentially” be his last Test series in England.

The Australian star, who smashed an epic 774 runs in the 2019 Ashes that was drawn 2-2, has landed in England for a stint with Sussex that the locals are not too happy with.

Sussex coach Paul Farbrace denied any notion that his team was “helping Australia to win the Ashes” by allowing Smith to play for them, adamant that he was helping county cricket more than anything.

But Smith said this county lead-in to the Ashes was something he wanted to do “for a long time” and the benefits would be obvious.

“I’ve got a lot of cricket coming up and a window opened up to come and play some county cricket. It’s something I’ve never done and have always wanted to do, so the stars aligned in a way,” he said.

“We are over here for the English summer and it’s a good opportunity to play some county cricket, which is something I’ve wanted to do for a long time. It’s going to be a good couple of months. I’m excited.”

Smith is hardly on his lonesome as an Australian playing county cricket before the Ashes, with fellow Test star Marnus Labuschagne having already played several games this season with Durham and squad member Marcus Harris pounding out runs for Gloucestershire.

The benefits have begun too, with Smith already facing Robinson in the nets at The Oval, where the World Test Championship final will also be played.

“Ollie bowled to me yesterday actually,” Smith revealed. “I left one third ball and he knocked me over, so that wasn‘t ideal.

“But I was impressed with him actually when he was out in Australia. I thought he had some really good skills. He‘s quite tall, he hit some good areas and looks like he’s got better since then, so I’m looking forward to playing with him this week.”

Smith also spoke to Broad whose comments that the last Ashes in Australia were “void” because of the Covid restrictions then in place the Aussie found “odd”.

“We were all there and playing so it was a little bit odd, you know? He‘s a nice guy and loves throwing out some good banter, so it’s all part of it,” he said.

Knowing the series could be his last Ashes in England, having flagged previously he doesn’t know how much time he has left in Test cricket, Smith, now 33, said winning a first series in the UK since 2002 was the absolute priority and another reason for his county stint.

“It would be a huge one to tick off the bucket list, I suppose,” Smith said of the prospect of winning in England.

“We haven‘t been able to do it but we got close last time and were unable to get over the line. It’s certainly something that would be high up on my bucket list and everyone else in the team as well.”

Originally published as Steve Smith arrives in England for his county cricket stint before Ashes


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