Surrey head coach Michael Di Venuto has left the door ajar for David Warner and Steven Smith to play for the county during their ball-tampering bans if the ECB were to permit the pair to be available for the English domestic game.
Di Venuto is a former Australia batting coach, having held the role from 2013 to 2016, and said it would be “mad” not to consider signing either of the duo should it be allowed. The bans handed down by Cricket Australia only cover Australian international and domestic cricket, although any position in the county game would need ECB sign-off.
“From an Australian perspective, it is probably important that they play a bit of cricket at some stage,” Di Venuto said. “I don’t know if they are allowed to play in this competition. I know what it states in their sanctions that they can’t play domestic cricket in Australia.
“If they are in the right mental state to play cricket and the ECB will have to allow it to start with, then we’d be mad not to look at some of the world’s best players potentially playing.”
The pair have already lost their IPL deals following the events in Cape Town last month while the third player involved, Cameron Bancroft, who was handed a nine-month ban, had his deal with Somerset scrapped.
Surrey had been due to have the services of allrounder Mitchell Marsh but he required ankle surgery following the South Africa tour which scuppered his summer in county cricket. Dean Elgar, the South Africa opening batsman, has been signed for the first two months of the season.
“We have got a relationship with Mitch to see how he goes with his ankle but we have got a spot we have got to fill as well,” di Venuto said.