Sunday’s inaugural player draft for The Hundred certainly whetted the appetite for the brand new competition.
Sadly though, the first ball of The Hundred is not to be bowled until July 2020. So, craving some kind of competitive action before then, we’ve judged how each of the eight teams fared on draft day.
Read on to find out our draft grades, and let us know yours on Twitter, @SkyCricket…
Star selection: Kane Williamson (Round Two, £100k)
Value pick: Shaheen Afridi (Round Four, £60k)
Surprise move: Tom Helm (Round Three, £75k)
Summary: A bit of a mixed bag for Birmingham. Williamson was great value in the second round, but somewhat fortunate to be still available after it was Liam Livingstone they opted for with their first pick at No 8. Similarly, Middlesex seamer Helm seemed a surprising selection that early, especially when you consider local Warwickshire lad – and England international – fast bowler Olly Stone is still undrafted.
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However, the in-form, veteran allrounder Ravi Bopara was said to be in high demand in the draft, and it was the Phoenix who snapped him up in the second round, while 19-year-old Pakistan left-arm paceman Shaheen has the potential to be one of the stars of The Hundred, given the way he lit up this summer’s World Cup – 16 wickets in only five matches, at an average of 14.62.
Star selection: Mohammad Nabi (Round Two, £100k)
Value pick: Zak Crawley (Round Six, £40k)
Surprise move: Glenn Maxwell (Round One, £125k)
Summary: The early dash for mystery spinners – three taken in the first six selections – may have caught the Spirit by surprise at No 7. They ultimately plumped for Maxwell with that pick and, while the big-hitting allrounder and occasional offspinner is no doubt a fine player, did they need both him and Nabi, who fulfils much the same brief? The likes of David Warner, Steve Smith, D’Arcy Short, Williamson and Mujeeb Ur Rahman were still on the board at No 7, but were gone by their next pick.
That being said, head coach Shane Warne knows how to build from scratch a winning white-ball side, having claimed the inaugural IPL title with the Rajasthan Royals, and he demonstrated his eye for talent and value with some shrewd business. Mohammad Amir (Round Two, £100k), Mark Wood (Round Three, £75k) and Kyle Abbott (Round Five, £50k) make for quite the mouth-watering pace trio, while England Test opener prospect Crawley was a snip in the sixth round.
If there is one slight concern with the Spirit, it is opening the batting though, with Crawley, Rory Burns (England-contracted) and Joe Denly (Round Four, £60k) all having the potential to be called away by England.
Star selection: Imran Tahir (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: Mitchell Santner (Round Five, £50k)
Surprise move: Dane Vilas (Round One, £125k)
Summary: The Originals squad doesn’t leap off the page quite like those of some of the other teams, largely due to their early draft work which raised a few eyebrows. Vilas was the big surprise with the No 11 overall selection, but the veteran wicketkeeper is well known and well-liked up in Lancashire, while Somerset batsman Tom Abell – taken in the second round at £100k – also seemed a bit of a stretch.
That said, Manchester managed to secure one of the premier T20 spinners with their very first pick, in Tahir, and found good value in the latter rounds. Proven international spinner Santner was a steal in Round Five – the penultimate overseas player taken – while fellow allrounder Dan Christian was another strong selection a round earlier, as was Derbyshire run-getter Wayne Madsen.
Star selection: Aaron Finch (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: David Wiese (Round Five, £50k)
Surprise move: Adam Lyth (Round Three, £75k)
Summary: Australian big-hitter Finch is a proven commodity at the top of the order, particularly in England, and is a fine bit of business with the No 4 overall pick. Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb, and a further destructive Aussie batsman, Chris Lynn, were equally strong early selections.
Given that dynamic opening duo of Finch and Lynn was already in place, it was somewhat of a surprise to see Lyth taken as early as the third round – a very good T20 player though he is – given that the Superchargers had other needs to address, and batting depth could be found later on.
Pace, in the form of Richard Gleeson, and a fine wicketkeeper in Ben Foakes, were finally added in Round Four, while Wiese has proven a fine allrounder for Sussex in recent years, and will serve as great cover for Ben Stokes when he is unavailable away with England.
Star selection: Sunil Narine (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: Fabian Allen (Round Five, £50k)
Surprise move: Alex Blake (Round Five, £50k)
Summary: Bowling looks the team’s forte – the No 5 pick of Narine added some spinning stardust, as did the subsequent selection of Nepalese teenager Sandeep Lamichhane. Nathan Sowter – 16 wickets in the Vitality Blast last term for Middlesex – is another talented tweaker and only cost £30k, while the Invincibles also possess three fine left-arm seamers, with Sam Curran joined by Reece Topley and Chris Wood, and a couple of decent right-armers, too, in the canny Tom Curran and burly Hardus Viljoen.
Fans may have wished for one more big-name batsman, although Jason Roy’s Ashes struggles mean he is likely to be available throughout and not playing Test cricket. Sam Billings, Rilee Rossouw, Alex Blake and Laurie Evans are proven white-ball hitters in England, and the allrounders – including Narine and fellow West Indian Fabian Allen – can give it a whack as well.
Left-arm spinner Allen is a fine fielder to boot, so while his selection may have come out of the blue, it could prove an astute move.
Star selection: Andre Russell (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: Delray Rawlins (Round Five, £50k)
Surprise move: Ross Whiteley (Round Four, £60k)
Summary: It’s easy to see why the Brave are the bookies’ favourites. There’s the bowling of Sussex trio Jofra Archer – even if his England commitments curtail his involvement – Chris Jordan and Tymal Mills; David Warner and James Vince are set to form a fine opening duo; and the gun allrounder that is Russell is poised to batter balls into the stands as well as opposition batsmen, with his 90mph deliveries. It’s hard to spot a weakness.
Spin is covered through Pakistan’s Shadab Khan and home-grown Liam Dawson, Rawlins and Whiteley can give it some welly in the middle order, while Ollie Pope – if not entrenched in England’s batting line-up by then – brings finesse. The Brave even picked up the reliable Craig Overton late on, to step in for Archer when absent, softening that blow. They had a blinding draft.
Star selection: Rashid Khan (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: Dawid Malan (Round Six, £40k)
Surprise move: Lewis Gregory (Round Two, £100k)
Summary: In news that shocked no one, the Rockets used the advantage of picking first to snare the world’s top T20 bowler in Rashid, before ending Round One with the acquisition of Australia’s D’Arcy Short, the left-hander who has been the top run-scorer in the Big Bash for the past two seasons. Allrounders Lewis Gregory – who probably went earlier than he expected – and Aussie Nathan Coulter-Nile then added some seam bowling and lower-order hitting.
From then on, Rockets supremo Stephen Fleming went Nottinghamshire heavy as he signed players with local knowledge. Middlesex’s Malan, Sussex’s Luke Wright and Worcestershire’s Ben Cox were the exceptions to that rule, but all made sense – Malan and Wright, snips at £40k and £30k, respectively, have plundered T20 runs for years, while Cox is one of the most talented glovemen on the circuit and can too give it a whack.
Star selection: Mitchell Starc (Round One, £125k)
Value pick: Danny Briggs (Round Seven, £30k)
Surprise move: Qais Ahmed (Round Four, £60k)
Summary: With Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton and Colin Ingram already allocated pre-draft, Fire coach Gary Kirsten wasted little time adding Starc – the leading wicket-taker in the last two World Cups was a no-brainer first pick at No 4. The Aussie left-armer was joined by veteran seamers Ravi Rampaul and Liam Plunkett, and the Fire stuck with experience, adding Simon Harmer and Danny Briggs as spin options.
The headline batting move was undoubtedly the acquisition of Steve Smith, England’s Ashes nemesis is the anchor that Banton, Bairstow, Ingram and Ben Duckett can bat around. Afghanistan legspinner Qais Ahmad, meanwhile, adds what everyone was looking for in mystery spin, albeit he doesn’t yet have the reputation of countrymen Rashid and Mujeeb.