There were big-name omissions, surprise picks and several bumper paydays for local players as the draft for the Hundred took place in London. Rashid Khan, the Afghanistan legspinner, was the first name selected in what is a ground-breaking exercise in British sport, while Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga were among the top-bracket overseas stars to be overlooked in the opening round.
With England Test players and a pair of ‘local icons’ already selected earlier this month, the eight teams each had to fill 12 more spots in their squads for next year’s inaugural competition. The format allowed 100 seconds for the team management to settle on their choices, with the Trent Rockets kicking things off by taking Rashid.
West Indies allrounder Andre Russell was second out of the hat, selected by Southern Brave, followed by Aaron Finch going to the Northern Superchargers and Mitchell Starc to Welsh Fire. Australia players were popular – the Future Tours Programme leaves them available for the whole of the Hundred – with Steven Smith, David Warner, Steven Smith and D’Arcy Short all among those taken at £125,000 (USD161,000).
There were also eye-catching deals for domestic players, with Liam Livingstone picked up in the first round by Birmingham Phoenix – more than doubling his earnings after setting a £60,000 (USD78,000) reserve price – while the Manchester Originals went down the local route by taking Dane Vilas, Lancashire’s captain, for £125,000.
The second round, with deals pegged at £100,000 (USD129,000), saw young English batsmen Phil Salt and Tom Abell make their way north to Manchester, while World Cup winner Liam Dawson was signed to play at his local ground, the Ageas Bowl, for Southern Brave. England wicketkeeper Sam Billings was picked up by the Oval Invincibles and experienced allrounder Ravi Bopara went to Birmingham Phoenix.
With overseas players unable to be purchased at below their base price, there were several notable omissions – perhaps influenced in part by availability. Alongside Gayle and Malinga, South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada was overlooked in the £125,000 bracket, while the likes of Shakib Al Hasan, Dwayne Bravo, Kieron Pollard and Trent Boult missed out on the £100,000 slots. Shakib had been touted as a popular pick but Bangladesh’s programme of Tests against Sri Lanka and New Zealand in July and August next year rendered his availability uncertain.
The draft took place in Sky’s west London complex, using a bespoke studio featuring eight three-man pods from which the teams could make their deliberations. The head coaches were all in attendance, accompanied in most cases by an assistant and the team’s analyst, with the early rounds concluded relatively quickly – few picks took anywhere near 100 seconds as the top targets were snapped up.
More to follow…