Australia batter Steve Smith will warm up for this summer’s Ashes with a stint at Sussex in the County Championship.
Smith, 33, will be available for three matches before the first Ashes Test begins at Edgbaston on 16 June.
Australia could also qualify for the World Test Championship final at The Kia Oval earlier that month.
Smith, who had a spell playing T20 for Worcestershire in 2010, scored 774 runs at an average of 110.57 in the last Ashes series in England in 2019.
The former Australia captain has scored six centuries in 16 Tests in the UK.
Currently second in the International Cricket Council’s ranking of Test batters, Smith averages 60.89 across his 92 Test matches.
He could feature for Sussex in Division Two matches away against Worcestershire and Leicestershire, beginning on 4 and 11 May respectively, before a home match against Glamorgan, which starts on 18 May.
“To have arguably the world’s best batter play for Sussex just before an eagerly-awaited Ashes Test series is great for us and the County Championship,” Sussex chief executive Rob Andrew said.
“Our Championship form has not been good enough for a number of years, and under the new direction of head coach Paul Farbrace, we are looking to be positive and ambitious.
“Being able to attract a player of Steve Smith’s calibre is a massive statement and will be of great benefit to our young homegrown players, particularly our crop of talented young batters.”
Smith, who has scored 30 hundreds and a further 37 half-centuries in Test cricket, is also second in the ICC’s all-time rankings of Test batters, behind Australia great Don Bradman.
He was named as his country’s Test captain after their Ashes series defeat in 2015 and served as skipper until March 2018, when he was handed a 12-month ban for his part in ball-tampering against South Africa.
Smith said he was “excited” about his stint with Sussex, where he could feature alongside India’s Cheteshwar Pujara, and hopes to make “a contribution to a successful season”.
“I am particularly looking forward to working with the younger players in the squad and hoping I can provide some guidance to them,” he added.
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