Wildermuth grabs late chance to join the world's best

Having accepted a last-minute deal to play in the PSL, Jack Wildermuth will soon link up with Andre Russell and Faf du Plessis at the Quetta Gladiators

Queensland and Australia A allrounder Jack Wildermuth is awaiting a government exemption as he prepares to fly to the United Arab Emirates for the resumption of the Pakistan Super League (PSL).

Wildermuth has cited what he sees as a rare chance to take part in his first overseas domestic T20 competition as the motivation behind his quick decision to make himself available for last week's PSL replacement player draft, which resulted in him and South Australian batter Jake Weatherald being picked up by Quetta Gladiators after Ben Cutting opted out of a return to that franchise.

It was an outcome he first discovered via his Instagram page, when he awoke on Sunday morning to a surprisingly large new contingent of followers, many of whom are based in cricket-mad Pakistan.

Just 14 of the scheduled 34 PSL games were possible in Karachi in February before the tournament was suspended due to an outbreak of COVID-19 amid players and support staff.

The remainder of the matches are set to be played in Abu Dhabi, with Wildermuth – who is also juggling moving house with his fiancée Sarah and their seven-week-old daughter Francesca – set to fly from Brisbane to Dubai on Thursday ahead of Quetta's first game next Friday (June 4).

"I've got to get my government exemption, then my COVID test and jab, and then I can fly out," he told cricket.com.au.

"My manager rang last Friday and said there's a replacement draft, there's people pulling out and they're keen on some Australians, things like that. I figured I'd throw my hat in the ring.

Wildermuth smashes four sixes to keep good form going

"This opportunity probably wouldn't have come up (if not for the COVID-19 situation); people pulled out because they've been in bubbles for a long time, and for me, I've had a month off, I'm feeling fresh, and five weeks, including two weeks' (quarantine) when I come back, I think that's worth it for the opportunity to be involved in one of these tournaments.

"It's a pretty big sacrifice for (his family) to go, 'Yep, go for five weeks', so I'm pretty thankful. Hopefully I can repay them and take full advantage of the opportunity."

The opportunity for Wildermuth comes off the back of arguably his best season to date, during which the allrounder made match-winning contributions with either bat or ball across all three formats.

Having been twice capped for Australia at T20I level against Zimbabwe in 2018, he has since won the KFC BBL during an underwhelming spell with the Melbourne Renegades, while this summer he added a second Sheffield Shield title to his name and scored a maiden hundred for Australia A against the touring Indians.

His return to the Brisbane Heat for BBL|10 also marked a change in his fortunes at T20 level. Last December, he showcased his impressive all-round ability against the Thunder with a six-laden 31 from 11 balls and a devastating new-ball spell that accounted for experienced top-order trio Usman Khawaja, Alex Hales and Callum Ferguson.

Jack-attack: Wildermuth obliterates Thunder top-order

And though he underperformed with the bat in the Shield, he was a regular new-ball option for the Bulls, bowling with pace and movement to capture 18 wickets at 20.83.

As he seeks a return to international cricket, Wildermuth is looking at seizing every chance he can for more game time.

"I don't want to put too much pressure on myself, and suddenly ask myself to go to this whole new level," he said. "I feel like I'm slowly improving and the biggest thing for me is, I feel like the more cricket I can play – and slowly chip away at my skills, batting and bowling – the better.

"I'm 27, I want to play as much cricket as I can now and the body is feeling good, so it feels like a good time to be playing more cricket in the winter, and hopefully this is an opportunity to kickstart that and go from there.

Explosive Wildermuth smashes India for rapid ton

"You've seen the guys who have done really well have been playing as much as they can, in the winter and everything, so that's the plan."

In the PSL, Wildermuth is set to line up alongside superstars such as South Africa's Faf du Plessis and Jamaican Andre Russell, and he noted both players could offer him plenty as he looks to develop his game in the shortest format.

"In T20 cricket I still feel like I have a lot to learn, so it'll be another good opportunity to see how those guys play in different conditions,” he said.

"Hopefully (it's) a major boost for me – I want to focus on a fair bit of white-ball cricket in pre-season, setting up for the summer, so this is all part of that, in a way.

"I wouldn't say I'm as ready as maybe some other times to go over and start playing – I'm fit and I've been running but I haven't been bowling – but in another way I've been training for 10 years for this sort of opportunity, so I'm excited."