Surrey interested in banned Australia trio

Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto says the English county would be “mad” not to look into the availability of Steve Smith, David Warner and Cameron Bancroft.

The trio of Australia internationals are currently banned for their part in the ball-tampering scandal with Smith and Warner suspended for one year each and Bancroft for nine months.

The suspensions only apply to Australian cricket and the trio can play in England, although they would need approval from the ECB.

Bancroft has already lost his contract at Somerset because of the ball-tampering incident, with fellow Aussie Matt Renshaw replacing the Western Australia batsman.

Di Venito, who played nine ODIs for Australia in 1997 and is a former batting coach of the Aussie team, feels the banned players have suffered enough.

Surrey also have space on their roster for an overseas player after Mitch Marsh had to withdraw from his contract because he has had ankle surgery.

Proteas opening batsman Dean Elgar has signed on for the first two months of the County Championship season leaving another overseas spot available for the second half of the season.

India captain Virat Kohli has been linked with a short-term stint to Surrey as the Asian side prepare for their tour to England in August but Di Venuto could look to bring in Warner, Smith or Bancroft if he is allowed to.

In quotes published Cricket Australia’s website, Di Venuto said: “From an Australian perspective, it is probably important that they play a bit of cricket at some stage.

“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.

“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.

“So, 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.”