Sussex believe their short-term deal with Steve Smith is great news for both them and the County Championship.

They expect the presence of the prolific Australia run-maker for three four-day games to be of particular benefit to their young players.

Smith is on board for games at Worcestershire and Leicestershire and at home to Glamorgan.

The deal will be seen as controversial by some due to his involvement in an infamous ball-tampering scandal with his country and, of more immediate concern, because it helps him prepare to face England in the Ashes.

But it also offers Sussex players and supporters the chance to appreciate one of the world’s great batting talents at close quarters – as they have with Cheteshwar Pujara.

It is understood new coach Paul Farbrace has been key in bringing Smith to Hove amid competition from other counties.

Sussex chief executive Rob Andrew said: “We are thrilled to have Steve Smith available for our County Championship matches in 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.

“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 ranks second in the ICC’s All-Time Test rankings, behind only Don Bradman, said: “I am excited about joining Sussex for a few games in May and hopefully making 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."

Sussex are continuing their search for an overseas bowler for the season, following the news of Jayden Seales’ long-term knee injury.