InMobi

Aussies abroad: Who's playing Major League Cricket in 2024

The second edition of the MLC is underway in the USA with Pat Cummins and Steve Smith headlining an 18-strong Australian contingent

Steve Smith – Washington Freedom

Having been left out of an Australian World Cup squad for the first time in a decade, Smith will be determined to prove he's still a T20 force to be reckoned with. His preferred new role opening in T20s will see him partner Aussie dynamo Travis Head at Washington Freedom, and he took down Anrich Nortje in their season opener in a whirlwind 46 not out. The MLC will see 34-year-old Smith, who owns an apartment in New York and spent time there commentating on the T20 World Cup, link up with another batting great, Ricky Ponting, who is the head coach of the capital-based franchise. Washington have a high-performance partnership with Smith's home state, NSW.

Pat Cummins – San Francisco Unicorns

Australia's ODI World Cup-winning skipper has signed a mammoth four-year deal with San Fransisco Unicorns where he is excited by the unique "global network and long-term possibilities" offered by the owners of the Silicon Valley-based franchise. While New Zealander-turned-American Corey Anderson will captain the side in 2024, Cummins' leadership will no doubt be crucial after taking Sunrisers Hyderabad to the Indian Premier League final earlier this year. The 31-year-old said prior to last month's T20 World Cup that he was bowling as well as he has for 10 years in the shortest format, form that continued throughout the tournament as he finished with nine wickets at 16, including two hat-tricks.

Glenn Maxwell – Washington Freedom

After dropping himself during the IPL, the mercurial allrounder's form picked up towards the end of the T20 World Cup, finishing with scores of 59 and 20 in Australia's two losses to Afghanistan and India. Maxwell spoke during the World Cup about hitting "good cricketing shots" to start his innings to help turn around his run of lean scores, and it'll no doubt be a similar approach as he begins his maiden MLC campaign with the NSW-partnered Washington Freedom. "You can play as many games as you want in the world, but sometimes your mind can sometimes start to play a few tricks on you and you've got to get your way into the game," he said during the World Cup.

Travis Head – Washington Freedom

Fresh off dominant performances at the T20 World Cup and IPL for Sunrisers Hyderabad, the South Australian will lead the charge for the Freedom at the top of the order. His 925 runs is the most by an Australian in T20s in 2024, and they've come at a healthy strike rate of 174.19. Only managed one run in Washington's opening game of the season but with half-centuries in two of his last five innings, it's only a matter of time before he gets going.

Jake Fraser-McGurk – San Francisco Unicorns

The batting sensation is continuing to spread his wings abroad in 2024, linking with the Cricket Victoria-partnered San Francisco Unicorns for this season. After strong performances for Melbourne Renegades, Dubai and Delhi Capitals so far this year, the 22-year-old was nominated by David Warner as his successor at the top of Australia's T20 line-up and he'll be out to use the MLC as a springboard into Australia's white-ball tour of the UK in September where he'll likely be given first crack as the retired opener's replacement.

Spencer Johnson – LA Knight Riders

The Brisbane Heat left-armer returns for a second year with Los Angeles after three matches for the franchise last season. Has already settled into his work with 2-18 on the tournament's opening night in Dallas to help the Knight Riders down home side Texas Super Kings by 12 runs. Johnson enters the MLC in strong from following nine wickets and economy of 6.51 in eight matches for Surrey in this year's T20 Blast.

Tim David – MI New York

Australia's No.6 enjoyed a fine campaign for MI New York in 2023, finishing the competition's inaugural season as the fifth highest run scorer (209 at 52.25). Has started this year with scores of 12 and nine in their opening two games against Seattle and Washington. Saw limited opportunities during Australia's T20 World Cup campaign but closed out their final group stage match against Scotland with 24 not out from 14 balls. New York is the fourth Mumbai Indians affiliated franchise David has played for after adding MI Emirates during a brief ILT20 stint earlier this year.

Alex Carey – LA Knight Riders

Australia's Test gloveman is no doubt keen for some white-ball match practice having only played one T20 and one 50-over match since being dropped from the ODI side one game into last year's World Cup campaign. Hit 36 off 26 in his one match for the Strikers in BBL|13 and while he admits his T20 international days could be behind him, Carey has declared he's still got "a fair bit of good one-day cricket" left in him.

Josh Inglis – San Francisco Unicorns

Was left on the bench during Australia's T20 World Cup campaign as veteran Matthew Wade got the nod. Widely regarded as the nation's T20 wicketkeeper in waiting, Inglis will be itching to get some time in the middle with his playing opportunities limited to a couple of T20 warm-up fixtures since the Sheffield Shield final in March. Smashed 55 from 30 deliveries against the West Indies in the second warm-up match.

Matt Short – San Francisco Unicorns

The Adelaide Strikers skipper has switched to the Unicorns this year after 152 runs in six games with the Freedom in the MLC's inaugural season. Another player who will be keen to get on the park having not played since the end of the Australian summer. Along with Fraser-McGurk, Short travelled with the Australian squad as a reserve during the World Cup and will be eager to push his case for a starting gig during the white-ball tour of the UK in September. A tough call looms for Unicorns coach Shane Watson on who should open the batting this season with Finn Allen also in the squad along with Short and Jake Fraser-McGurk, although Short has opened and batted at No.3 and No.6 in his nine T20 internationals for Australia.

Brody Couch – San Francisco Unicorns

The Melbourne Stars quick qualifies as a local American player due to his mum, who grew up on a dairy farm at Albany in upstate New York. Couch was taken by the Unicorns with pick 33 in last year's draft but didn't feature in any matches in the MLC's first season. Also didn't play at all for the Stars in BBL|13 and recently moved to Western Australia from Victoria in search of more opportunities. He's also currently out of contract with the Stars.

Cameron Gannon – Seattle Orcas

One of the leading bowlers of the inaugural MLC season with 11 wickets in seven matches for the Orcas. Also qualifies as an American player due to his mum's heritage and was taken with pick 24 in last year's draft. Gannon started this season strong with 2-40 in Seattle's first up loss to New York after a stellar finish to WA's Sheffield Shield-winning season with 22 wickets in their last four matches of 2023-24.

Marcus Stoinis – Texas Super Kings

The big-hitting allrounder took 2-37 in his first outing for Texas, his new home this year after representing the Unicorns in 2023. The 34-year-old enters the MLC in hot form after being one of the top performers in last month's T20 World Cup, with his 169 runs and 10 wickets earning him selection in the ICC's team of the tournament, as well as cricket.com.au's.

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Aaron Hardie – Texas Super Kings

Also took two wickets in the Super Kings' season opening loss to LA Knight Riders. The West Australian withdrew from a planned county and T20 Blast stint with Surrey to rest following the Australian summer and hadn't played since the state's Sheffield Shield triumph in March. Hardie would also be a strong chance to feature on Australia's white-ball tour of the UK in September.

Cameron Stevenson – Texas Super Kings

Another Australian-American local player due to his mum's heritage, former Renegades quick Stevenson was drafted by the Super Kings with pick 31 last year. The right-armer has played 18 ODIs and four T20 internationals for the USA, the most recent against Namibia in September 2022. An engineer by day, Stevenson finished the 2023-24 Australian summer on a high with seven wickets in Carlton's grand final triumph over Casey-South Melbourne in Victorian Premier Cricket.

Jack Edwards – Washington Freedom

The emerging NSW allrounder has been signed by the state's affiliated MLC franchise for his maiden stint abroad. Didn't feature in their opening match of the season against MI New York but will be out to build on a strong BBL|13 where he played every game for Sydney Sixers and was one of their best bowlers with 11 wickets.

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Andrew Tye – Washington Freedom

The veteran quick returns for a second MLC season, this time with Washington after switching from Seattle where, alongside Cameron Gannon, he was the tournament's second most prolific bowler last year with 11 wickets. The 37-year-old hasn't played since WA's One-Day Cup final triumph over NSW in February.

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Ian Holland – Washington Freedom

The fourth Australian-American local player in this year's competition, the former Victorian allrounder has been playing with Leicestershire in England's County Championship. Holland missed selection in last year's draft but was taken by the Freedom with the seventh pick in March ahead of this season.

Withdrawn players

Nathan Ellis (Seattle Orcas): The Orcas announced the Hurricanes captain's signature for the 2024 season back in April but Cricket Australia have since withdrawn his clearance to play in the tournament to allow him to rest following the T20 World Cup and before The Hundred (where he's playing for London Spirit) and Australia's white-ball tour of the UK.

Lance Morris (Seattle Orcas): The West Australian tearaway had signed with the Orcas for his maiden overseas playing stint but a flare up of a hot spot in his back ended those plans. He'll now spend the winter doing rehab in Perth as he targets Australia's white-ball tour of the UK in September for his return.

2024 MLC standings

Team
Matches played
M
Wins
W
Losses
L
Ties
T
No results
N/R
Net Run Rate
NRR
Deductions
Ded.
Total points
PTS
1 Washington Freedom Washington Freedom WAS 6 5 0 0 1 2.194 0 11
2 San Francisco Unicorns San Francisco Unicorns SAF 5 3 1 0 1 0.081 0 7
3 Texas Super Kings Texas Super Kings TSK 6 2 2 0 2 0.285 0 6
4 Los Angeles Knight Riders Los Angeles Knight Riders LAK 6 2 3 0 1 -0.569 0 5
5 MI New York MI New York MNY 6 1 4 0 1 -0.851 0 3
6 Seattle Orcas Seattle Orcas SEA 5 1 4 0 0 -0.914 0 2

M: Matches played

W: Wins

L: Losses

T: Ties

N/R: No results

NRR: Net Run Rate

Ded.: Deductions

PTS: Total points

Australians in the 2024 MLC

LA Knight Riders: Spencer Johnson, Alex Carey

MI New York: Tim David

San Francisco Unicorns: Pat Cummins, Josh Inglis, Matt Short, Jake Fraser-McGurk, Brody Couch (domestic signing)

Seattle Orcas: Cameron Gannon (domestic signing)

Texas Super Kings: Marcus Stoinis, Aaron Hardie, Cameron Stevenson (domestic signing)

Washington Freedom: Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head, Steve Smith, Jack Edwards, Andrew Tye, Ian Holland (domestic signing)

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