Steve Smith and Marnus Labuschagne joined Sussex and Glamorgan, respectively, and played several matches in County Championship Division II in order to acclimate to the conditions and perform well in the World Test Championship final and the Ashes 2023. Labuschagne was outstanding with the bat, accumulating 502 runs in five matches, while Smith, who is 34 years old, has scored 122 runs in three matches.
Ben Stokes, captain of England, stated that it would not make much of a difference if Australians played county cricket before the Ashes. The all-rounder eventually embraced the change and stated that it would be beneficial for county cricket if more international players joined the division.
“I have absolutely no objections whatsoever. The Durham director of cricket, Marcus North, messaged me and asked, “Is it okay if we sign an Australian?” I responded, “It’s entirely fine. Don’t fret.’ It’s wonderful for our sport when international players arrive. Why wouldn’t you want renowned athletes to represent our nations? “I don’t think it will make a difference when it comes to the Ashes,” Stokes said in an interview with Daily Mail.
“Steve Smith could have had four consecutive ducks for Sussex, but we all know he’s capable of scoring 700 runs in the Ashes,” he added.
Priority is ensuring that I am able to fulfill my duty as the fourth seamer in the Ashes. Stokes
In the one-off Test against Ireland, Stokes became the first captain in Test cricket history to win without batting, bowling, or maintaining wicket. The cricketer is not bowling at all at the present due to his knee injury, which has caused him a great deal of pain in recent times. However, he hopes to improve so that the all-rounder can serve as the fourth pacer in the impending Ashes.
“It has been a very frustrating year bowling with a knee injury and being unable to fulfill my position as fourth seamer. I have worked so diligently to reach the point where I can bowl without pain. On his injury, Stokes said, “I’ve had some cortisone injections, but everything is going well, and I won’t rush it because the priority is making sure I can fulfill my role as the fourth seamer in the Ashes.”