A third of all overseas players in this season’s County Championship are Australians.
There is a distinct Aussie feel ahead of the Ashes in this season’s County Championship, with no fewer than 18 Australians traveling to play for English sides.
This means that a little under two-thirds of the 28 overseas players due to ply their trade in England this summer will be from the ‘Land Down Under.’
The biggest names to arrive in the British Isles will include former Test stalwarts Ricky Ponting (Surrey) and Simon Katich (Lancashire), as well as current five-day batsman Ed Cowan at Nottinghamshire.
Ponting will share the captaincy at Surrey with South African Graeme Smith, whilst Division Two side Gloucestershire will also have an Australian skippering the team in Michael Klinger.
Around half of the Australia imports are considered short-over specialists and are being brought in specifically for the domestic Twenty20 competition. This includes Dirk Nannes at Glamorgan and Shaun Tait at Essex – both of whom are currently playing at the IPL.
Whilst there has always been a strong Australian contingent in the County Championship, a few believe that the players were pushing for overseas contracts there because of the Ashes this summer.
In a bumper year for the oldest cricket rivalry there will be two series’ competing for the little urn, with the first of which starting in England in July.
With Test players such as Cowan being able to adjust to the English conditions with their county sides, some predict the Three Lions may regret the clubs in their country welcoming the Aussies with such open arms.