Former England cricketer Darren Gough admitted to being surprised at the prospect of Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto considering the idea of signing banned Australian players Steve Smith, David Warner, and Cameron Bancroft.
Di Venuto is keen on signing either of the three beleaguered stars for county cricket despite them being handed a one-year ban by Cricket Australia last month for the ball-tampering episode in Cape Town.
The ban prohibits the Aussie players from playing international as well as domestic cricket for 12 months due to their roles in the pre-meditated plan to tamper with the ball during the Test match against South Africa.
Gough asserted that there has been overreaction regarding the ruling, but the incident remains a sensitive issue.
Although, he would not have any qualms with the county hierarchy involving them after they complete their stipulated one-year embargo.
The 47-year-old said: “I was absolutely gobsmacked when I heard that Surrey coach Michael Di Venuto said he would be keen to sign one of Australia’s banned Test stars in Steve Smith, David Warner, or Cameron Bancroft.
“I think it is such a sensitive issue. I do think there has been an overreaction regarding the bans, but once they got the 12-month bans from Cricket Australia, I would be hugely disappointed if one of the counties – as a Yorkshire fan – employed one of those three this season.
“Next season, I would have no issue with it. They will have then served their ban. But not this season.”
Gough further stated there isn’t any need to assist Australian cricket in this scenario, given that talents like Smith, Warner, and Bancroft have been huge losses for their team and the fact that them being away from the sport for such a significant period will also have a bearing on their respective careers, as per Di Venuto’s assessment.
“Di Venuto said bringing in one of those three would benefit Australian cricket. I am not bothered about benefitting Australian cricket. Why would one of our coaches in this country want to benefit their cricket with the Ashes coming up here next year?”
Justin Langer is set to take over reigns from Darren Lehmann as head coach, which, according to Gough, is the right way forward.
“Justin Langer is being lined up by Australia to replace Darren Lehmann as head coach and that would be a good choice,” continued the ex-English fast bowler.
“He’s an unbelievably strong character and I think he will do a terrific job for Australia, even though Darren [Lehmann] is a hard act to follow. Darren did a great job and is a great bloke and coach.”