Finch, de Kock unveiled on Major League Cricket draft day

Finch, de Kock, Chand named by franchise teams for the US T20 cricket tournament scheduled to take place in July.

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MLC will be played from July 13 to 30. It will become the latest T20 league to surface across the globe [Adam Hunger/AP]

Former Australia captain Aaron Finch will lead the San Francisco Unicorns in the inaugural edition of the United States’ new Twenty20 cricket tournament while South Africa’s Quinton de Kock will play for the Seattle Orcas.

Finch and de Kock were among six overseas signings announced during Major League Cricket’s (MLC) Domestic Player Draft on Sunday, in which each of the six teams picked nine US-based players.

MLC will be played from July 13 to 30. It will become the latest T20 league to surface across the globe, just months after South Africa and the United Arab Emirates introduced their versions to the cricketing world and almost 15 years after the Indian Premier League (IPL) changed cricket forever.

“It’s going to be a hell of a ride but the key is to get year one under way, show the world we can put out a product, get decent crowds in and I think the momentum will quickly build,” MLC tournament director, Justin Geale, told Al Jazeera before the draft.

“So excited to be a part of @MLCricket @SFOUnicorns,” tweeted Finch, who captained Australia in white-ball cricket before announcing his retirement from internationals last month.

The 36-year-old will be joined by his former teammate Marcus Stoinis at the Unicorns as well as Victoria fast bowler Brody Couch, whose mother is American, making him eligible for the draft.

Fast bowler Liam Plunkett, who was part of the England side that won the 50-over World Cup in 2019, was also picked by the Unicorns in the draft. Plunkett’s wife is American.

De Kock, who previously captained South Africa across all three formats, will line up for the Orcas alongside Australian all-rounder Mitchell Marsh.

DC Freedom also announced two overseas signings, bringing in Sri Lankan spin bowling all-rounder Wanindu Hasaranga and South African fast bowler Anrich Nortje.

More overseas signings will be announced over the next few weeks.

Unmukt Chand, India’s under-19 World Cup-winning captain in 2012, joined Los Angeles, while former Pakistan international Hammed Azam was snapped up by MI New York.

“While the money is there, it’s a pretty nice idea to come tour America, play cricket, bring your family and your golf clubs too. We haven’t really struggled at all while talking to players.” Geale added.

According to the MLC, the inaugural season will take place at the Grand Prairie Stadium in Grand Prairie, Texas.

“The regular season will consist of five games, with each team playing each other once, followed by a playoff round and the championship on July 30,” an MLC statement said.

“Teams will announce more big-name international signings as they become official, and each squad has a chance to pick another domestic player in early July based on performances in the Minor League Cricket season.”

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies