Pat Cummins signs shock deal with San Francisco Unicorns T20 side in boost for Major League Cricket

Australia Test skipper Pat Cummins has given cricket in the United States a huge boost after signing a shock four-year deal with the San Francisco Unicorns.

Cummins became the latest — and biggest — signing for Major League Cricket (MLC), which in its second season has been given official ‘List A’ status.

That designation means playing records in the fledgling American Twenty20 competition will now be counted towards official statistics.

Cummins joins a fast-bowling attack at the Unicorns that also features Pakistan’s Haris Rauf and New Zealand quick Matt Henry.

Australian batting sensation Jake Fraser-McGurk is also with the San Francisco franchise.

Washington Freedom have loaded up on Australian stars, signing Steve Smith, Travis Head and Glenn Maxwell.

But Cummins, who is signed with the Unicorns until the end of 2027 in a deal that is expected to earn him huge money, represents the league’s biggest get.

The 31-year-old remains at the peak of his powers, and last month was named Wisden’s Cricketer of the Year after guiding Australia to one-day World Cup glory as well as the World Test Championship crown.

Cummins led Sunrisers Hyderabad to the IPL final this year.(AP Photo: Mahesh Kumar A.)

Cummins, who will be in the West Indies and the US this month as part of Australia’s T20 World Cup campaign, is also the reigning International Cricket Council Player of the Year.

The Unicorns are co-owned by Silicon Valley entrepreneurs Anand Rajamaran and Venky Harinarayan.

The chance to help promote cricket in the US combined with business opportunities at the Unicorns helped convince Cummins to sign a four-year deal.

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

“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.”

Cummins hasn’t played in Australia’s Big Bash League since 2018 due to international commitments.

But he showcased his immense value in the T20 format by captaining the Sunrisers Hyderabad to the recent Indian Premier League final, where they lost to the Mitchell Starc-inspired Kolkata Knight Riders.

The 2024 Major League Cricket season will start on July 5, with San Francisco Unicorns’ first match coming on July 7 when they take on the LA Knight Riders.

AAP

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