England T20 Blast 2021
Aussie World Cup hopefuls hit England's T20 Blast
A host of Australian short-format stars will be displaying their wares in the UK across the next six weeks, with some setting their sights on upcoming ICC event
8 June 2021, 06:45 PM AEST
* This story was updated at 6.45pm AEST after Dan Christian and Ben McDermott were called into Australia's squad to tour the Caribbean and Bangladesh
Some Australian World Cup hopefuls are among the eight Aussies set to take part in England's domestic T20 Blast, which starts this week.
As Australia's leading T20 players prepare for their upcoming tour of the West Indies, some of those on the fringes could force their way into consideration for this year's World Cup if they produce some eye-catching performances in the Blast.
Australians in the 2021 T20 Blast: Ben Dwarshuis (Worcestershire), Chris Green (Middlesex), Travis Head (Sussex), Josh Inglis (Leicestershire), Marnus Labuschagne (Glamorgan), Michael Neser (Glamorgan) D'Arcy Short (Hampshire), Dan Worrall (Gloucestershire)
Big hitter D'Arcy Short has arrived in the UK to link up with Hampshire, while Perth Scorchers wicketkeeper-batsman Josh Inglis – who Ricky Ponting has identified as a potential World Cup bolter – has linked up with Leicestershire.
Short was named in an extended squad for the upcoming Windies tour, but his deal with Hampshire was announced just last month, after the Australian touring party was announced.
Test and ODI incumbent Marnus Labuschagne will also suit up for Glamorgan having been ruled out of the Caribbean tour due to the logistical complexities of travelling during the pandemic.
Coach Justin Langer has previously identified Labuschagne as a potential star in all three formats and while the Queenslander is excited about playing a full season in the Blast, he remains hopeful a World Cup spot is not beyond him, though he conceded Australia's national selection panel might think otherwise.
"Any time you can't go to play for Australia is a very disappointing time," Labuschagne told The Times this week.
"But the silver lining is that I get to play most of the T20 comp here and almost double the amount of T20s I have played in my career. I've played 16 before and I will play 14 here.
"I would love to be playing in the World Cup in a few months. I don't know if it is a realistic goal from the selectors, but it is a realistic goal from my perspective."
Inglis is yet to play international cricket but was on standby for the recent tour of New Zealand and had several conversations with selectors Trevor Hohns and George Bailey last summer.
Keeper-batsmen Matthew Wade, Josh Philippe and Alex Carey are all in the squad for the Windies tour, but Ponting says Inglis should not be discounted for a World Cup spot.
"Josh Inglis' name could be thrown into the ring as well," Ponting told cricket.com.au last month. "I really liked what I saw from him batting in the middle order in last summer's BBL.
"He plays spin really well and you think about where the World Cup is going to be (in India or the UAE), he could be a name that could come up."
Travis Head (Sussex), Michael Neser (Glamorgan) and Dan Worrall (Gloucestershire) will also take part in the Blast having recently played in the opening stages of the County Championship, as will Big Bash stars Chris Green (Middlesex) and Ben Dwarshuis (Worcestershire).
Dan Christian (Notts) and Ben McDermott (Derbyshire) had also been in the UK ahead of the Blast, but were late withdrawals on Tuesday after they were called into Australia's squad to tour the Caribbean and Bangladesh.
Pace-bowling allrounder Sean Abbott, who played all three T20s against India last summer, had signed on to play for Surrey but returned home this week after suffering a serious hamstring injury.
Allrounder Mitchell Marsh had signed on for Middlesex but will instead head to the Caribbean with the Australian squad later this month.
Peter Handscomb (Middlesex), Cameron Bancroft (Durham), Peter Siddle (Essex) and Marcus Harris (Leicestershire) have all been playing first-class cricket in England this summer but are not signed on to play in the Blast.
The opening rounds of the Blast from June 9 to July 18 will also signal the return to action of Ben Stokes from a recent finger injury, while local stars like Eoin Morgan, Jos Buttler, Jonny Bairstow, Adil Rashid and Chris Woakes are all set to take part in the coming weeks.