Australian domestic cricketers could feature in the inaugural edition of a US T20 competition after Cricket Victoria struck a deal with one of the six franchises.
A yet to be named San Francisco-based franchise has partnered with Victoria ahead of the launch of the Major League Cricket tournament.
Cricket NSW formalised an agreement with a Washington DC franchise last month.
It is unclear whether other Australian cricket associations will pursue similar arrangements, with the owners of IPL franchises likely to be involved with the other sides, as was seen in South Africa’s domestic T20 tournament.
Cricket Victoria’s deal will see staff support San Francisco’s “team building” ahead of a slated March 19 player draft, while Victorian cricketers could travel to the US for a stint with the side during the 18-day tournament, which begins on July 13.
As with Cricket NSW’s agreement, US-based players may be supported to play grade cricket during the Australian summer as part of a bid to develop talent in the country.
A Cricket Victoria spokesman said the deal could lead to “a number of high-performance oriented initiatives that will provide opportunities for Victoria’s emerging talent”.
Talented young Victorian players such as Jake Fraser-McGurk, Mackenzie Harvey and Fergus O’Neill would be among the group to be sounded out to play in the tournament, with national representatives including Marcus Harris, Peter Handscomb and Scott Boland to be unavailable due to the Ashes.
Cricket Victoria chief executive Nick Cummins said the partnership was an “incredible opportunity”.
“We’re excited to see how it unfolds over the months ahead. We’ve had very productive conversations with MLC and the lead investors of the San Francisco team over the last few months which have led us to this point,” Cummins said.
“Beyond that, we have a responsibility to present new opportunities to Victorian cricket.
“In a rapidly evolving global cricket landscape, we believe our partnership with San Francisco and MLC gives us a chance to do just that.”
It comes as Victorian Will Pucovski made his return to the crease in the state second XI against Tasmania on Wednesday, but was unable to stem the flow as the home side steamrolled Victoria’s batting line-up.
Eased back in at number five, the 25-year-old was out caught behind for four as Billy Stanlake made a successful return to state cricket, claiming 1-25 off 10 overs.
Tigers medium-pacer Gabe Bell claimed 4-27 as Victoria made 216 in reply to Tasmania’s 5-402 declared.