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Nathan Ellis signs for London Spirit in bid for T20 World Cup spot

Australia seamer starred at the death for Hampshire in Blast final

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Nathan Ellis with the T20 Blast trophy  •  Getty Images

Nathan Ellis with the T20 Blast trophy  •  Getty Images

Nathan Ellis will continue to push his case for a spot in Australia's T20 World Cup squad in the Hundred after signing a deal with London Spirit.
Ellis, 27, was a travelling reserve in the squad that won the title in the UAE last year and starred for Hampshire in their T20 Blast win earlier this month, finishing the tournament with 15 wickets and an economy rate of just 6.87. He has spoken openly about his ambitions to win a spot in the main squad for Australia's title defence and will now have the opportunity to impress further after signing a deal that will see him replace the injured Riley Meredith for the duration of the Hundred.
"That was sort of the catalyst for me playing the Blast and trying to push for the Hundred - just trying to play as much white-ball cricket [as possible] leading into this World Cup and put my name out there," Ellis told the Grade Cricketer podcast. "It's all I want to do: imagine playing a home T20 World Cup in front of your friends and family."
Ellis will play alongside several of his Hampshire team-mates at Spirit. While the two teams are not affiliated, Dimi Mascarenhas - the former Hampshire captain - is one of Spirit's assistant coaches and their squad now includes five-sixths of the bowling attack that won them the Blast in Mason Crane, Liam Dawson, Brad Wheal, Chris Wood and Ellis, as well as wicketkeeper Ben McDermott.
He will also link up with his compatriot Glenn Maxwell at Spirit for the first five games of the season, and Josh Inglis for the final three and the knockout stages. Inglis replaced Maxwell in the squad last year and has signed as a replacement for him again during Australia's ODI series against Zimbabwe.
Three other teams lose players to that series: Southern Brave have lined up Paul Stirling, Player of the Match in the inaugural final last season, as a replacement for Marcus Stoinis in the final stages of the competition while Manchester Originals and Welsh Fire are discussing options to replace Sean Abbott and Adam Zampa respectively.
Stirling, Ellis and Inglis' deals were confirmed on Wednesday morning, shortly after they had been revealed by ESPNcricinfo. The ECB also announced that Tabraiz Shamsi, the South African left-arm wristspinner, will replace Rashid Khan at Trent Rockets when Rashid is on international duty with Afghanistan.
Teams are also scrambling to find overseas replacements for the four West Indies players involved, who are expected to miss the end of the tournament to play in the CPL. They are Dwayne Bravo (Northern Superchargers), Sunil Narine (Oval Invincibles), Kieron Pollard (Spirit) and Andre Russell (Originals). Each team can have a maximum of four overseas players in its squad at a given time, but only three in the playing XI.
Elsewhere, three English seamers will win late call-ups to the Hundred because Olly Stone (Birmingham Phoenix), Brydon Carse (Northern Superchargers) and Gus Atkinson (Oval Invincibles) are all expected to miss the tournament with injuries. Pat Brown has been confirmed as Atkinson's replacement while Jordan Clark, Dan Douthwaite and Craig Miles are among the unsigned players whose names have come up in discussions to replace Carse and Stone.
In the women's competition, Sophia Smale, the 17-year-old Western Storm spinner, has replaced the injured Emma Jones at Invincibles, who are the defending champions.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98