YORKSHIRE expect new signing Travis Head to be available for at least the whole of this year’s NatWest T20 Blast group stage.
The return of Head to Headingley as this summer’s specialist T20 overseas was revealed to members at Saturday’s annual meeting.
The left-handed batsman becomes the second Australian to sign on in 2017 alongside Peter Handscomb, who will be available for all formats.
Australia have yet to confirm a short tour to Bangladesh through August and September, which means Martyn Moxon could not say with certainty what Head’s availability will be.
“We don’t 100 per cent know yet due to the tour to Bangladesh, but the way things are going, he should be available for the qualifying stages,” admitted Yorkshire’s director of cricket.
“I’m hoping it will be all of the 14 games. He may or may not be available afterwards.”
If it goes ahead, the tour will also involve Handscomb, who has shone during the early stages of his Test-match career.
There is also the chance that Handscomb could be picked for the one-day Champions Trophy in England between June 1 and 18, meaning Yorkshire will need to seek a replacement.
“Certainly as far as four-day and 50-over cricket we have (a contingency plan), although I don’t want to go into too much detail,” said Moxon.
“Because we think Travis is going to be available for most of the competition, we haven’t got a T20 contingency.”
Handscomb will be available for the start of the County Championship season on April 7, although Adil Rashid will miss the opener against Hampshire.
England centrally-contracted duo Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow will both miss the first two matches.
Head, who played four Blast matches last year and appeared briefly in the Royal London One-Day Cup and the Championship, will arrive in Yorkshire ahead of the Blast opener against Nottinghamshire on July 7.
Yorkshire’s final group game is on August 17.
Finals Day is on September 2.
“We’re delighted we’ve been able to secure Travis’s services again,” said Moxon.
“He spent a little bit of time with us last year and showed what he was capable of, and he’s more experienced now with the international cricket he’s played since.
“He is talented, young and hungry, and he wants to prove himself on the world stage.
“Trav always wanted to come back after a relatively brief stay with us last year.
“He’s more proven now, he’s had more experience, and he’s shown his capabilities on the international stage, so I would think he is a better player now than he was last year.
“Even last year he showed his capabilities, so we think he’s a very exciting signing.”
Head has represented Australia 29 times in one-day and T20 international cricket since making his debut last January.
He scored 128 in an one-day international against Pakistan on his home ground at Adelaide earlier this year, adding five further fifties in that form of the game.
He added: “I am looking forward to returning to Headingley to play for the Yorkshire Vikings in 2017.
“I really enjoyed my time in Yorkshire last year, and I can’t wait to meet up with the lads again.
“As an overseas player, I would like to help the team go further than last year and hopefully win the NatWest T20 Blast.”