Bold lifeline for disgraced pair

SURREY coach Michael Di Venuto has confirmed he’d be keen to sign one of Australia’s banned Test stars.

Di Venuto was Australia’s batting coach until 2016 and remains close to both Steve Smith and David Warner, who are serving 12-month bans from international and domestic cricket following the ball tampering scandal in South Africa.

Cameron Bancroft, who was issued with a nine-month suspension, had his contract with Somerset ripped up following the incident, with Smith and Warner losing their lucrative IPL deals.

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The trio are only permitted to play grade cricket in Australia, but their bans do not prevent them from playing in England, although it would require approval from the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB).

Test all-rounder Mitch Marsh was Surrey’s overseas signing for the season, but he is now unavailable following ankle surgery.

South Africa opener Dean Elgar was signed by the club for April and May leaving another overseas spot available for the second half of the season. Australia will defend their World Cup crown in England next year followed by an attempt to win a first away Ashes series since 2001.

Di Venuto believes a spell in England will benefit the players and Australia.

“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.

“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.”

Meanwhile, Glamorgan coach Robert Croft believes Australia batsman Shaun Marsh won’t be affected by any sledging about ball tampering.

“It is not an issue for me,” Croft told PA Sport.

“Shaun was not mentioned in any of that — and do you think an Aussie ever worries about chirping?

“But if he does get any of that I think he’s the type of chap to just stare them down.”

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