Aussie stars sign up with international big hitters for ambitious Major League Cricket start-up venture

Australian stars Aaron Finch, Mitchell Marsh and Marcus Stoinis will be powering cricket’s ambitious push into the American market after being announced as signings for the new six-team T20 league.

The big-name trio were named as marquee signings at the glitzy launch of Major League Cricket which held a draft in Houston to fill six squads for the inaugural tournament in July. 

South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje and former captain Quinton de Kock, Sri Lankan spinner Wanindu Hasaranga and New Zealand all-rounder Corey Anderson have also been snapped up for the first competition. 

Finch and Stoinis will turn out for the San Francisco Unicorns while Marsh is joining de Kock at the Seattle Orcas. 

Marcus Stoinis of Australia celebrates taking the wicket of Alex Hales of England during game two of the T20 International series between Australia and England at Manuka Oval on October 12, 2022 in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley - CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

Marcus Stoinis. (Photo by Jason McCawley – CA/Cricket Australia via Getty Images)

There will also be teams in Washington, New York, Texas and Los Angeles with each franchise playing each other once before a playoff round and championship game. 

Australia’s top-liners will not be available for this year’s MCL due to the Ashes but Test vice-captain Steve Smith has expressed an interest in the past about playing Stateside. 

“There’s obviously [T20] leagues popping up everywhere around the world now, and I think you’ll probably see more players in the back end of their career going down that route, so it’s potentially something I’ll look at in the future,” Smith told the Sydney Morning Herald last September. “There’s no reason why cricket can’t work [in the US] I wouldn’t think.”

The MLC’s July window is one of the less crowded months on the international calendar for Australian players – England’s The Hundred runs in August so T20 circuit players could use the US tournament as a lead-in to a UK stint. 

Melbourne Stars fast bowler Brody Couch was drafted by the San Francisco Unicorns. Each team selected domestic cricketers and players who had nominated for the draft over nine rounds with more signings set to be announced in the near future.

Former Queensland all-rounder Cameron Gannon, who holds dual Australia-US citizenship, was drafted by Seattle. The 34-year-old played four T20s for America in 2019.

IPL franchises have ploughed money into the MLC with the New York side owned by the Mumbai Indians and Kolkata Knight Riders buying the LA franchise. 

Delhi Capitals formed a partnership with Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella at Seattle while the Chennai Super Kings are part-owners of the Texas team.

Cricket NSW and Cricket Victoria have formed strategic partnerships with Washington and San Francisco respectively.

The Australian states will help their US counterparts get off the ground and also help develop their home-grown players with stints in their respective premier cricket competitions in Sydney and Melbourne. 

Viewed as a massive potential growth market for cricket’s global spread, the US will co-host next year’s T20 World Cup with the West Indies. 

Venues are being purpose-built and modified for cricket with the Grand Prairie Stadium near Dallas set to be the base for the USA cricket team with a high-performance centre and a seating capacity of 20,000.

The 20-team T20 World Cup will be played in June leading up to next year’s MLC.

Australian opener David Warner has stated he wants to finish his international career with a swansong at the T20 World Cup so he could also be a potential marquee signing next year in the twilight of his career.

Mitchell Marsh celebrates with Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis.

(Photo by Gareth Copley-ICC/ICC via Getty Images)

MLC squads

Seattle Orcas

Marquee signings: Quinton de Kock, Mitchell Marsh

Round 1: Harmeet Singh, all-rounder | Age: 30
Round 2: Shehan Jayasuriya, batter | Age: 31
Round 3: Shubham Ranjane, all-rounder | Age: 28
Round 4: Cameron Gannon, all-rounder | Age: 34
Round 5: Aaron Jones, batter | Age: 28
Round 6: Nauman Anwar, batter | Age: 27
Round 7: Phani Simhadri, bowler | Age: 31
Round 8: Angelo Perera, batter | Age: 33
Round 9: Matthew Tromp, bowler | Age: 17

Washington Freedom

Marquee signings: Anrich Nortje, Wanindu Hasaranga 

Round 1: Andries Gous, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 29
Round 2: Mukhtar Ahmed, batter | Age: 30
Round 3: Obus Pienaar, batter | Age: 33
Round 4: Saurabh Netravalkar, bowler | Age: 31
Round 5: Saad Ali, batter | Age: 29
Round 6: Dane Piedt, bowler | Age: 33
Round 7: Sujith Gowda, batter | Age: 26
Round 8: Justin Dill, bowler | Age: 28
Round 9: Akhilesh Bodugum, bowler | Age: 22

MI New York

Round 1: Steven Taylor, Batter | Age: 29
Round 2: Hammad Azam, all-rounder | Age: 32
Round 3: Ehsan Adil, bowler | Age: 30
Round 4: Nosthush Kenjige, bowler | Age: 32
Round 5: Monank Patel, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 29
Round 6: Sarbjeet Singh Ladda, bowler | Age: 36
Round 7: Shayan Jahangir, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 31
Round 8: Kyle Phillip, bowler | Age: 26
Round 9: Saideep Ganesh, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 22

San Francisco Unicorns

Marquee signings: Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis

Round 1: Corey Anderson, all-rounder | Age: 32
Round 2: Liam Plunkett, bowler | Age: 37
Round 3: Tajinder Singh, batter | Age: 30
Round 4: Chaitanya Bishnoi, batter | Age: 28
Round 5: Carmi Le Roux, bowler | Age: 29
Round 6: Brody Couch, bowler | Age: 23
Round 7: David White, batter | Age: 31
Round 8: Smit Patel, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 29
Round 9: Sanjay Krishnamurthi, all-rounder | Age: 19

Los Angeles Knight Riders

Round 1: Ali Khan, bowler | Age: 32
Round 2: Unmukt Chand, batter | Age: 29
Round 3: Jaskaran Malhotra, batter | Age: 33
Round 4: Nitish Kumar, batter | Age: 28
Round 5: Corne Dry, bowler | Age: 30
Round 6: Ali Sheikh, all-rounder | Age: 20
Round 7: Saif Badar, batter | Age: 24
Round 8: Shadley Van Schalkwyk, all-rounder | Age: 34
Round 9: Bhaskar Yadram, all-rounder | Age: 23


Round 1: Rusty Theron, bowler | Age: 37
Round 2: Calvin Savage, all-rounder | Age: 30
Round 3: Lahiru Milantha, wicket keeper/batter | Age: 28
Round 4: Milind Kumar, batter | Age: 32
Round 5: Sami Aslam, batter | Age: 27
Round 6: Cameron Stevenson, bowler | Age: 30
Round 7: Cody Chetty, batter | Age: 31
Round 8: Zia Shahzad, all-rounder | Age: 26
Round 9: Saiteja Mukkamalla, batter | Age: 18

Source link