The Hundred Draft

As if three formats of cricket wasn’t enough, the game is set to be revolutionised yet again by the introduction of The Hundred. Set to take place in England in 2020, the draft for The Hundred took place earlier this week, so let’s take a look at just what we can expect from the tournament, as well as who’s going to be playing for who.

What is The Hundred?

The Hundred is another new format of the game, but don’t worry – it doesn’t differ too much from a regular T20 game. As you might have guessed from the name, instead of the 120 balls bowled in a T20, games in The Hundred format will see one hundred balls being bowled per innings. Instead of six ball overs, bowlers will have the choice of bowling in either five or ten ball sets, with each allowed a maximum of 20 deliveries throughout the course of the innings.

The power play will take place over the first 25 balls of each innings, with only two fielders allowed outside the 20-yard circle during this time. Another quirk included in this new format is a solitary tactical timeout which each team will be allowed during their fielding innings – this will last for 150 seconds.

What is the format of The Hundred?

There will be both a men’s and a women’s league of the Hundred, with each competition consisting of eight teams – the Northern Superchargers, the Manchester Originals, the London Spirit, the Oval Invincibles, the Birmingham Phoenix, the Trent Rockets, the Southern Braves and the Welsh Fire.

Each team will play eight games prior to the playoffs – six teams once and one team twice. Teams have been split into four ‘pairs’, each with their closest rival, and the other member of that pair is the team that they will meet on two occasions.

At the conclusion of this set of games, the top four teams advance through to the finals. The first-placed team will meet the second-placed team, with the winner to advance directly through to the final, while the loser of that match will meet the winner of a game played between the third and fourth teams in the standings.

Each team will have a squad of 15 players, which were determined at the draft earlier this week. Predominantly these will be local players, with only three internationals allowed on each squad. Each squad will also have two players who impressed at the t20 blast, as well as one Test player.

So who is playing?

Say what you like about the addition of another format of cricket to the calendar, but the talent which will take part in the inaugural edition of The Hundred will ensure it gets plenty of attention from fans around the world. Many of the world’s best short-form players will take part, as will some of its best known longer form players, and testament to the level of talent picked is the fact that both Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga were overlooked at the draft. Early betting odds have the Southern Braves and Northern Superchargers as the favourite, but let’s take a look at each of the eight squads in the men’s version of The Hundred.

Birmingham Phoenix

The Birmingham Phoenix side is headlined by Chris Woakes, but overall the side doesn’t appear to have as much talent as some of its competitors. Moeen Ali is a decent addition while Kane Williamson is one of the best batsmen in the world, but short-form cricket isn’t exactly his forte. It would surprise to see this team make it to the final four given the quality of many of the sides they’ll be up against.

London Spirit

The London Spirit are another team, at least according to the bookmakers, are not likely to be around come the pointy end of the season. They certainly have some explosive talent – the prodigious Glenn Maxwell was picked up by the Spirit, while Eoin Morgan and and Mohammad Nabi also feature. Kyle Abbott headlines their bowling attack and they will be coached by Shane Warne, a man who, for all his flaws, has a terrific cricket brain. They probably lack the depth of some other teams but the talent is there to compete for a spot in the final four.

Manchester Originals

Boasting the equal longest odds alongside London to win The Hundred outright is the Manchester Originals, but like The Spirit there is some solid top-end talent here. Perhaps most notable among this talent is Jos Buttler, one of the best short-form players in world cricket and a man who is capable of making any team competitive on any given day. They don’t have a great deal of depth but the likes of Imran Tahir, Dan Christian, Wayne Parnell and Mitchell Santner should at least give them the ability to be competitive.

Northern Superchargers

Finally, going through the teams in alphabetical order has led us to one expected to compete. The Superchargers find themselves behind only the Southern Brave for favouritism, and it’s easy to see why. With just 100 balls to go to work, this team has a batting line-up which could put up some massive totals. It’s headlined by Ben Stokes, while the explosive Australian duo of Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn will strike fear into the hearts of bowlers throughout the tournament. From a bowling perspective, they have picked up both Mujeeb ur Rahman and Adil Rashid, two of the most befuddling and effective bowlers in T20 cricket, and this spin duo combined with their batting line-up makes this an extremely dangerous unit.

Oval Invincibles

The Invincibles have compiled an interesting looking team for the inaugural edition of The Hundred. They don’t have the dominant top-end that many of the better teams do, but their big names, which include Sam Curran, Jason Roy and Sunil Narine, are good enough to do plenty of damage. Bookies have them around the mid-tier in the initial odds, but while their relatively decent depth should be enough to win them a few games they don’t necessarily look like a team likely to challenge the best of them.

Southern Brave

The favourites for the tournament, it’s the Southern Braves top three which makes them such a dangerous looking team heading in. Jofra Archer, Andre Russell and David Warner provide a well-rounded and extremely potent side, while the likes of James Vince and Chris Jordan add a bit of depth to the team. It’s a little surprising to see them favoured over the Northern Superchargers given the Superchargers potency with both bat and ball, but there’s no doubt the Brave will be up there as one of the teams to beat.

Trent Rockets

The Trent Rockets are another expected to be competing for the top positions in the tournament. They have a lot of talent with both bat and ball – D’Arcy Short, Alex Hales and Dawid Malan make for an explosive top order, while Joe Root provides some stability further down, and with the ball Rashid Khan makes them an immediately dangerous proposition and will be supported by Australian quick Nathan Coulter-Nile.

Welsh Fire

Rounding out the eight teams is the Welsh Fire, another expected to be in the mid-tier come season’s end. Their team is more than capable of competing with virtually everyone in the tournament – their batting line-up includes Jonny Bairstow, Steve Smith and Colin Ingram, while the lethal Mitch Starc headlines their bowling line-up. With Liam Plunkett, Ryan ten Doeschate rounding out the squad there’s plenty of reason to be hopeful for this team.

There’s a common theme among all of these teams: some elite top-end talent, but a little bit lacking in depth. This is relatively unsurprising – it was invariably going to be difficult to attract the quantity of talented players required to fill out all of these teams with them, but with the incorporation of an English test player as well as a handful of internationals to each team, the best players in the tournament are some of the best in the world. 

The Hundred will run through July and August of next year, and it shapes as an intriguing few weeks. There was plenty of criticism about the development of yet another format of cricket, while much of the support for the league came, unsurprisingly, from within the UK. Regardless, they have managed to accumulate enough good players to ensure that the league will get plenty of attention.

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