Pat Cummins signs four-year deal with San Francisco Unicorns

The strength of Major League Cricket as a T20 destination tournament has increased with Australian star Pat Cummins signing a mammoth four-year deal to play with the San Francisco Unicorns.

It’s another signature that the Big Bash has been unable to get as Cummins joined the growing list of Australian guns, including Steve Smith, to join the fledgling competition.

Cummins hasn’t played in the Big Bash since 2018 due to international commitments that prevent a bulk of Australia’s best players featuring in the tournament.

Several, including Cummins, have signed ambassador deals as a way to keep them involved in the Big Bash.

But he has only played in one overseas league before, the IPL, having signed several big-money deals and earned more than $3 million as captain of the Sunrisers this season.

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Cricket is taking off in the US, with T20 World Cup matches being played in New York and Dallas, and Cummins said he saw a bright future for the game there and wanted to get involved.

“MLC is developing at a rapid rate, and the US market potential is huge for cricket,” Cummins said.

“While cricket is integral to my involvement, the global network and long-term possibilities offered by the owners specifically, and Silicon Valley more broadly, presented a unique opportunity for me and my life beyond cricket.”

The MLC is set to be played from July 6 to 29 this year, after the World Cup, but Cummins’ availability next year could be impacted by a two-Test series in the West Indies in June and July.

Cummins is among a raft of Australians who have joined MLC, with batting dynamo Jake Fraser-McGurk to join the Australian captain at San Francisco Unicorns this season. Washington Freedom has also signed several high-profile Australians, including Glenn Maxwell, Travis Head and Smith.

The MCL has gained List A status for its second season and will now be recognised as an official T20 league, with records counting towards official T20 statistics.

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