Yorkshire’s hopes of claiming a first T20 trophy have suffered a setback without a ball being bowled after overseas signing Travis Head was made unavailable due to international commitments.
Head has been selected in the Australian A squad for the upcoming tour to South Africa in July and August – meaning he will miss the Natwest T20 Blast campaign over the same period.
Head featured in four T20 matches as Yorkshire reached the semi-finals of the T20 Blast last year. But the Australian’s presence was missed in the latter stages of the competition after he returned Down Under early due to selection for Australia’s one-day international series with South Africa.Ed White
The 23-year-old will feature in a four-day squad that will play South Africa A twice from July 12 to 22 before captaining the Australia A one-day side in a tri-series also involving India A from July 26 to August 8.
The Vikings start their Natwest T20 Blast campaign at home to Nottinghamshire Outlaws on Friday, July 7, with the final group match against Northampton Steelbacks on Thursday, August 17 at Headingley.
The quarter-finals of the competition take place the following week before Finals Day at Edgbaston on Saturday, September 2.
Head was signed specifically for the T20 season, but Yorkshire are now left searching for other options to join season-long signing Peter Handscomb in their squad for the shortest format.
The club will be keen to sign a replacement mid-order hitter with the likely absence of several England players during the summer.
England are due to face South Africa in a four-Test series during July into August before three five-day matches against West Indies running into September.
With captain Gary Ballance’s form increasing his chances of an international return – and Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow guaranteed to feature – Yorkshire’s batting resources could be stretched.
Head featured in four T20 matches as Yorkshire reached the semi-finals of the T20 Blast last year.
But the Australian’s presence was missed in the latter stages of the competition after he returned Down Under early due to selection for Australia’s one-day international series with South Africa.
It was in the Royal London One Day Cup where the South Australia player made his impression for Yorkshire, scoring 277 runs in four matches to steer the Vikings towards another last-four appearance.
That included an enterprising innings of 175 off 139 balls during a 191-run thrashing of Leicestershire, the second highest one-day innings in the club’s history behind Darrren Lehmann’s 101 against Notts in 2001.
The left-hander, who has played 22 one-day internationals, also made one Championship appearance, scoring 56 runs.
When announcing Head’s return, Yorkshire head coach Andrew Gale said it was a “no-brainer” to bring the Australian back.
Gale said: “He has gone from strength to strength since he left us last summer, getting into the Australia team and being a consistent performer for them. “We have been looking at someone to make a big impact, and Travis did that for us last year.
“He is a fantastic player around the dressing room, and a fantastic one on the pitch.
“That middle-order batting position has been key for us in T20 over the last few years, getting someone who is explosive and can win you a game.”