From one season to another: Australians who have county cricket calling

The game doesn't stop for the latest group of players heading overseas

Andrew McGlashan
Andrew McGlashan
Peter Handscomb, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser are among those heading to county cricket

Peter Handscomb, Marnus Labuschagne and Michael Neser are among those heading to county cricket  •  Getty Images

The longest Australian season ever has wrapped up but there won't be much downtime for some players. A group have already been at the IPL for a few weeks and the cohort with county cricket deals will soon start taking the field. Here's where they will be, what they'll offer their clubs and what they could stand to gain.
CC = County Championship, RLC = Royal London Cup (50 overs, starts July 22), T20 = T20 Blast (starts June 9)

Sean Abbott - Surrey (CC - from late May, T20)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 570; Average: 63.33 | Wickets: 21; Average: 29.14
Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Runs 93; Average: 31.00 | Wickets 10; Average: 15.20; Econ: 4.53
BBL Matches: 4; Wickets: 7; Average: 18.71; Econ: 9.35
Had an outstanding domestic season where he was New South Wales' second-most consistent batsmen behind Moises Henriques while his four wickets in the Shield final made put him second behind Nathan Lyon as he developed into a full-fledged allrounder. Was also their leading wicket-taker in the one-day competition after taking four in the final against Western Australia. His BBL campaign was limited to a handful of matches due to being in the Australia Test bubble.
Australia ambitions
Was part of the Test squad for the postponed South Africa having been around the set-up all season and played ODIs and T20Is against India. With the emergence of Cameron Green and the depth of fast bowling available the limited-overs formats may be the more accessible to him. He said that his main aim with the Surrey deal was to keep his name in the frame for the T20 World Cup.

Cameron Bancroft - Durham (CC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 678; Average: 48.42
A strong bounce-back season for Bancroft after he averaged just 13.16 in 2019-2020 and frequently fell to catches at leg gully as opposition exploited a major technical weakness. Although an average of 48 needs to tempered by a season where many batters filled their boots this was much more like the Bancroft that earned international honours.
Australia ambitions
Hasn't played since the 2019 Ashes and with the emergence of Will Pucovski and the recall of Marcus Harris against India he is some way down the list at the moment although it's certainly not out of the question that he could get another go.

Ben Dwarshuis - Worcestershire (T20)

Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Wickets 8; Average: 18.75; Econ: 4.39
BBL Matches: 13; Wickets: 24; Average: 16.79; Econ: 8.85
He is a versatile white-ball bowler who holds his own with New South Wales' international cohort and remains a standout performer for Sydney Sixers where he was their leading wicket-taker in the successful title defense. Bowls a lot of tough overs in the Powerplay, Power Surge and at the death.
Australia ambitions
He was part of an Australia T20 squad in 2017-18 but has not featured since despite consistent returns and may struggle to squeeze past the amount of bowling options available.

Peter Handscomb - Middlesex (CC, RLC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 511; Average: 46.45
Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Runs 299; Average: 74.75
Will be captain of Middlesex. Was leading a Victoria side blooding a number of young players this season and wins were hard to come by, but personally the returns were solid with a standout contribution being the century against New South Wales to help earn a draw.
Australia ambitions
Has slipped someway down the pecking order but has time to force his way back if he can string together a strong county campaign and then start next summer well in Australia. His renowned ability against spin could put him in the frame for the subcontinent tours next year if the selectors go horses for courses.

Marcus Harris - Leicestershire (CC, RLC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 695; Average: 63.18
Marsh Cup Matches: 3; Runs 72; Average: 24.00
An impressive Shield season included a double century which was part of the record stand of 486 with Will Pucovski although his unbeaten hundred in tricky conditions against Queensland was an equally good innings. Still has a bit of a habit of not quite cashing in on the number of starts he makes, but Chris Rogers' arrival at Victoria appears to have been good for his game.
Australia ambitions
Was recalled to the Test side for the decider against India in Brisbane when Pucovski was injured, but with such a long gap between matches incumbency may not mean much come next summer. However, plenty of runs for Leicestershire will keep him in the selectors' minds.

Travis Head - Sussex (all formats)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 7; Runs: 893; Average: 68.69
Marsh Cup Matches: 5; Runs 276; Average: 55.20
BBL Matches: 4; Runs: 70; Average: 17.50; S/R: 98.59
A prolific season for South Australia as he filled his boost either side of losing his Test place, finishing as the second-highest run-scorer in the Shield, including a career-best 223 against Western Australia. Also churned out the runs in one-day cricket although as captain could not lead the Redbacks to a single victory all season. Had limited chance to make an impact in the BBL for Adelaide Strikers and couldn't get going.
Australia ambitions
Having been dropped after two Tests against India to accommodate the return of David Warner, debut for Pucovski and retention of Matthew Wade, Head would have had a good chance of reclaiming his spot in South Africa although faced competition from Henriques. With the selectors now seemingly moving on from Wade he'll be firmly in the running for the No. 5 spot in the Ashes, especially if he impresses with Sussex.

Josh Inglis - Leicestershire (T20)

BBL Matches: 17; Runs: 413; Average: 34.41; S/R: 140.00
Must have been a tempting all-formats signing for somebody after an outstanding all-round domestic summer for Western Australia and Perth Scorchers, but it will just be T20s for him with Leicestershire. A hugely versatile batter and excellent wicketkeeper he is something of a rarity in Australia in that he has adapted to a move from the top of the Scorchers' order to the middle.
Australia ambitions
Very close to recognition. Could easily have made either the Test or T20I squad a couple of months ago, although there is no shortage of keepers in the latter. Making a strong claim to move ahead of Alex Carey to replace Tim Paine. This county spell could help him make a late T20 World Cup push.

Marnus Labuschagne - Glamorgan (CC, RLC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 821; Average: 82.10
Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Runs 145; Average: 36.25
Heading back to where the rise really started. The story of his development at Glamorgan ahead of the 2019 Ashes is well known, but no one could truly have known the heights he would already have reached. Capped his Australian summer with the defining innings, 192, of the Sheffield Shield final and he was the only batter to score four hundreds in the competition (and made another against India). Few would have blamed him for wanting some time off, but his love of batting holds no bounds.
Australia ambitions
Reckon he's going okay on that front. On a slightly more serious point it will be interesting to watch how his 50-over batting continues to develop and he is not yet in Australia's T20 plans (he won't be playing the Blast for Glamorgan, either).

Mitchell Marsh - Middlesex (T20)

BBL Matches: 15; Runs: 315; Average: 39.37; S/R: 147.88 | Wickets: 4; Average: 18.75; Econ: 6.52
One of the strongest hitters of a cricket ball going around, Marsh should provide a dynamic package for Middlesex in the Blast. Had a good season with the bat for the Scorchers in the BBL but his bowling was limited by injury - something he has had to deal with frequently over the last few years.
Australia ambitions
Is firmly in plans for the T20 World Cup having featured on the recent New Zealand tour although his position rarely feels entirely secure. Has the game to be a finisher in the middle order.

Ben McDermott - Derbyshire (RLC, T20)

Marsh Cup Matches: 2; Runs 68; Average: 34.00
BBL Matches: 12; Runs: 402; Average: 36.54; S/R: 139.58
At his best he can be hugely destructive and he was the leading run-scorer for the Hobart Hurricanes in the BBL. His one-day season was limited by being in the Australia T20 squad. Offers another wicketkeeping option for any team he plays for, but also superb in the outfield.
Australia ambitions
Is in the thinking for T20 World Cup although could struggle to make the final cut depending on squad sizes. Has even been talked about as a Test candidate despite just two first-class centuries (the second coming for Australia A against India this season) but white-ball cricket would seem the likelier opportunity.

Michael Neser - Glamorgan (CC, RLC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 8; Runs: 161; Average: 32.20 | Wickets: 18; Average: 24.33
Marsh Cup Matches: 3; Wickets: 6; Average: 15.83
Started the season in style with a century and a five-wicket haul in the same match against Tasmania then claimed another five-for to set-up the Sheffield Shield final victory. If there is any assistance in a surface Neser will find it. Should provide huge value for Glamorgan.
Australia ambitions
Is there a player more unfortunate to not yet have a Test cap? Rightly or wrongly still feels that he needs at least a couple of injuries or players to lose form to push his way in. Isn't really in the frame for the ODI side.

Billy Stanlake - Derbyshire (all formats)

Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Wickets 6; Average: 19.66
BBL Matches: 12; Wickets: 13; Average: 24.92; Econ: 8.34
An interesting all-formats signing by Derbyshire given he did not feature in the Shield for Queensland this season. Gave a reminder of what he can offer with a career-best 4 for 24 in the Marsh Cup and was solid for Melbourne stars in the BBL
Australia ambitions
Well down the list now having last appeared in late 2019 and it would be a surprise if he was back in contention next season.

Peter Siddle - Essex (CC, RLC)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 6; Runs: 146; Average: 24.33 | Wickets: 18; Average: 28.16
Marsh Cup Matches: 2; Wickets: 4; Average: 19.50
Remains a hugely consistent and skillful seam bowler and the average of 28 from this season does not do justice to how well he often bowled for his new state Tasmania having moved from Victoria.
Australia ambitions
Having earned ODI and Test recalls in 2019 he retired from the international game last season.

Daniel Worrall - Gloucestershire (all formats)

Sheffield Shield Matches: 5; Wickets: 12; Average: 45.41
Marsh Cup Matches: 4; Wickets: 4; Average: 47.00
BBL Matches: 11; Wickets: 10; Average: 27.10; Econ: 7.29
A stalwart domestic performer for South Australia and Adelaide Strikers he will be happy to put in some big shifts if needed for Gloucestershire. As with all the Redbacks' bowlers this season there was plenty of toil. In the BBL he produced some outstanding new-ball bursts for the Strikers and in T20 is a candidate to bowl the majority of his overs upfront if conditions suit.
Australia ambitions
His three ODI caps came back in 2016 and the chances of further representation have probably passed him by.

Andrew McGlashan is a deputy editor at ESPNcricinfo