Test aspirants Glenn Maxwell and Joe Burns have declared their desire to win a berth on next year's Ashes tour by joining a growing list of Australians to join the county circuit.
A clash of dates which has seen the Indian Premier League largely overlap with Australia's plans for the World Cup, also in England, has meant there are Australian players who have been shunned by the Indian franchises or opted to not declare for the lucrative auction later this month.
This has prompted some – including Maxwell – to look to the English circuit, where players can adjust to the conditions on offer for the World Cup and then the Ashes.
At a time when Australia's batting woes – including selection policy and lack of depth – have become an issue, the clash with the IPL could be an inadvertent benefit to national hopes although it is a significant financial blow for the players not heading to India.
Maxwell, who has been unable to launch a strong case for a Test recall, in part because of a fixture which has not allowed him to play enough red-ball cricket, will join Lancashire where he hopes to press his case.
"Coming over to England early next year will also help me acclimatise to conditions ahead of the ICC cricket World Cup, which I am hugely excited about," Maxwell said.
"I still have aspirations to play Test cricket for Australia, so I felt it was important that I play some first-class cricket whilst I am over in England.
"The County Championship is a hugely competitive competition and Im looking forward to being part of Lancashires red-ball side next year."
When playing for Lancashire, Maxwell will have the opportunity of facing the local high-seamed Dukes cricket ball which has traditionally troubled the Australians. The Kookaburra ball will be used in the World Cup.
The Victorian is expected to be part of the World Cup squad but has been told by skipper Aaron Finch he needs to find form with the bat after being dropped to No.7.
Queenslander Burns played his last Test in the fourth and final clash against South Africa in Johannesburg in April when he replaced the suspended David Warner.
He could find himself firmly in contention for a recall should a wobbly top order fail to find its way against India.
Finch's role as Test opener has become increasingly divisive, with Ricky Ponting questioning why he had even been chosen for the United Arab Emirates tour with conditions there so different to what is on offer in Australia. The Victorian does not open the batting for his state.
Maxwell and Burns will also have the opportunity of experiencing first-hand England – and Lancashire – fast bowling great Jimmy Anderson, who will have a key role to play during the Ashes.
Shaun Marsh (Glamorgan), Cameron Bancroft (Durham), Peter Siddle (Essex) and Daniel Worrall (Gloucestershire) are also among those who will play county cricket next year.
The IPL, set to begin earlier than usual on March 23, will clash with Australia's one-day series against Pakistan in the UAE. CA has also decreed players will have to miss the final two or three weeks of the IPL to attend a camp in early May ahead of leaving for the Word Cup.
Pat Cummins, Mitch Starc and Finch were released by their IPL clubs as a result of the schedule but World Cup hopefuls David Warner, Steve Smith, Chris Lynn and Marcus Stoinis were among those retained. As revealed by Fairfax Media, Cummins is chasing a long-term contract with a financial top-up from CA so he can concentrate on international cricket but not be impacted greatly by bypassing the IPL.
Jon Pierik is a sports writer with The Age, focusing primarily on AFL football, cricket and basketball. He has won awards for his cricket and basketball writing.
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