Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto has opened the door to the Australian cricketers banned following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Steve Smith and David Warner are serving 12-month bans from international and Australian domestic cricket while Cameron Bancroft is banned for nine months after being caught trying to tamper with the ball using sandpaper during last month's series.
Bancroft was actually due to feature for Somerset this summer but had his contract terminated following the incident meanwhile Smith and Warner both lost their IPL contracts worth a reported A$2.4 million each.
Surrey have a quota spot available after fellow Aussie all-rounder Mitchell Marsh has been ruled out for the majority of the English summer following ankle surgery.
The ball-tampering trio are due to complete 100 hours of community service to club cricket throughout their ban period but the sanctions against them playing do not extend to English domestic leagues.
Pending approval from the England and Wales Cricket Board, Di Venuto has suggested he would be open for any of the trio to turn out for Surrey.
Di Venuto is close to both Warner and Smith having served as a batting coach for Australia until 2016 and his latest comments suggest he is open to working with the pair again.
The 44-year-old has suggested it would be beneficial for Australia to allow the banned trio to play first-class cricket in England ahead of next year's World Cup and subsequent Ashes series.
"From an Australian perspective, it is probably important that they play a bit of cricket at some stage," Di Venuto said, per The Mirror.
"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."
Given the public outcry and criticism the trio have received since the scandal broke, it's unlikely Surrey and Di Venuto will escape scrutiny if they push through a move for one them this summer.
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