Steve Smith, Australia cricketer
Steve Smith (AFP Photo)

Steve Smith is eyeing a county deal in order to better prepare for the Ashes series in England later this year.

Smith hasn’t played red-ball cricket for 12 months now following his ball-tampering ban although he has turned out in a couple of T20 leagues apart from playing grade cricket in Sydney.

His ban ends on March 29 post which he’ll be involved in the Indian Premier League (IPL) for Rajasthan Royals.

While in all likeliness he’s all set to travel to England as part of Australia’s World Cup squad, Smith is hoping to land a short-term county deal to get more competitive red-ball practice that will put him in great shape ahead of the high-profile series.

As per a report in The Times, Smith’s representatives have spoken to Middlesex, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Hampshire and Yorkshire regarding vacancies for an overseas player.

County teams might be averse to offering the former Australia captain a deal considering the window of his availability for the championship.

Provided Australia make it to the final of the ICC World Cup, Smith would then be busy on national duty at least till July 14, the final of the tournament, unless he fails to make it to the Playing XI and is released for county stint.

The county season gets underway in the first week of April and Smith will be available mid-July before again linking up with Australia for Ashes that gets underway from August 1.