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Now counties are chasing Mitchell Starc with several more Australians to play in County Championship

Now counties are chasing Mitchell Starc with several more Australians set to follow Steve Smith and play in the County Championship this summer ahead of the Ashes

A posse of Australians could follow Steve Smith by signing up for pre-Ashes practice in the County Championship this summer.

Usman Khawaja, who hit a Test-best 195no against South Africa this month, has made himself available for an early-season stint while the MoS understands counties have directly approached two of Australia’s pace-bowling group, Mitchell Starc and Lance Morris, who has been in recent squads but is uncapped.

Khawaja has previously played for Lancashire, Derbyshire and Glamorgan and like Smith — who yesterday made it back-to-back Big Bash hundreds with a career-best 125no for the Sixers in the Sydney derby — is keen on a stint in English conditions to sharpen his aim ahead of what is expected to be six Test matches here for Pat Cummins’ side. Australia have all but qualified for the World Test Championship final in early June. The Ashes runs from June 16 to July 31.

Several sides in the County Championship are chasing Australian fast bowler Mitchell Starc

Usman Khawaja, who has been in scintillating form for Australia, has made himself available

Usman Khawaja, who has been in scintillating form for Australia, has made himself available

Those Australian batters not involved at the IPL this spring like Travis Head and Matt Renshaw might seek returns here, with 13 overseas slots still to be filled. 

Renshaw had decided against going back to Somerset after recently becoming a father but his recent international recall may urge a rethink.

But it is the contact with ex-Yorkshire player Starc, who is sitting out the IPL to preserve himself for the Ashes, and Morris, who bowls at 90mph and is the leading wicket-taker in this winter’s Sheffield Shield, which will irritate those who believe counties should not be providing Australia’s stars with warm-up time.

Fast bowler Lance Morris, who is yet to make his debut, is another of many Australians that could play in the Championship this summer

Fast bowler Lance Morris, who is yet to make his debut, is another of many Australians that could play in the Championship this summer

Two Australian states are understood to be investing in the United States Twenty20 competition that will clash with the English domestic season.

The financial model for the £100million Major League, the first edition of which will be played this July, will see two Indian Premier League franchises own two of the six teams, with local investors the major shareholders in the remaining four, backed by more IPL money in two cases and funding from Australia in the two others.

Wary of their Big Bash League losing ground on the global scene in the face of new tournaments in South Africa and the United Arab Emirates, Australian cricket bosses are keen on making a strategic footprint elsewhere.

The competition allows seven overseas players but only five on the field at any one time and they will be offered deals from £30,000 to £100,000.

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Read more at DailyMail.co.uk



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