Patrick Noone looks at the make-up of each Hundred team after yesterday’s draft
*All ‘Best XI’ lists assume availability for whole squad
Stephen Fleming has assembled a side rich with local talent, as has been his tendency as coach of T20 franchises around the world. Luke Wood, Tom Moores, Matt Carter, Steven Mullaney and Luke Fletcher provide a Nottinghamshire core that is supplemented by the experience of Dawid Malan, Luke Wright and Lewis Gregory.
The Rockets have plenty of firepower in their batting, with Alex Hales set to open with the Australian D’Arcy Short, with Malan and Gregory in the middle order and Nathan Coulter-Nile to give it a whack at the death. The Australian was a smart pick at £75k – his batting prowess has perhaps gone under the radar but his match-winning 92 against West Indies in the World Cup, coincidentally at Trent Bridge, showed just how dangerous he can be.
Coulter-Nile’s primary role though will be as a seam bowler, alongside the left-arm options of Wood and Harry Gurney. Rashid Khan and Matt Carter provide excellent spin options, while Gregory is a useful sixth bowler, but the Rockets generally lack depth beyond their likely first XI. Joe Root will obviously be tied up with England’s Test series against Pakistan while Mullaney and Fletcher only played five T20 matches between them for Notts last season.
That potentially leaves them lacking options should one of their frontline bowlers gets injured, but the Rockets will be happy with what looks to be a generally well-balanced first XI.
Best XI: Alex Hales, D’Arcy Short, Luke Wright, Dawid Malan, Tom Moores (wk), Lewis Gregory, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Rashid Khan, Matt Carter, Luke Wood, Harry Gurney
The Hampshire-based team made some eye-catching early picks, snapping up Andre Russell and David Warner in the first round, while Delray Rawlins and Ross Whiteley give them plenty of hitting in the middle order. But below the batting fireworks, the Brave have made some astute signings for their bowling attack, with left-arm quicks Tymal Mills and George Garton to supplement Chris Jordan and Jofra Archer, who were already assigned to the team from the pre-draft.
The Brave also kept it local with their spin options, picking up Liam Dawson and Max Waller, so they should have enough to cover the potential loss of Shadab Khan during Pakistan’s Test series against England. Generally, availability is likely to be one of the key challenges facing the Brave, with Shadab, Archer and Ollie Pope all likely to be involved in the Test series, while Russell’s obvious star quality is outweighed by his recent fitness issues.
If they can get everyone on the field, the Brave will be tough to beat and will surely be one of the most watchable teams in the competition.
Best XI: James Vince, David Warner, Alex Davies (wk), Delray Rawlins, Ross Whiteley, Andre Russell, Liam Dawson, Shadab Khan, Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills
The Superchargers were the first team to use all three overseas picks, opting to sign Aaron Finch, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman and Chris Lynn from their first three picks. In Finch, Darren Lehmann has someone who can captain the side as well as opening the batting while Lynn gives them plenty of firepower and is a player Lehmann knows well from his time at Brisbane Heat.
Mujeeb joins Adil Rashid, the Superchargers pre-draft local icon, forming a high-class spin attack that looks to be their greatest asset. Batting-wise, they look very top heavy with Finch, Lynn, Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore all jostling for positions in the top order, while the middle order looks a little thin for the matches when Ben Stokes is on international duty.
Similarly, the seam attack has genuine pace with Richard Gleeson, left-arm variety with David Willey, but Nathan Rimmington, David Wiese and Ed Barnard leave the attack looking somewhat underdone.
If the Superchargers top order comes off, there could be plenty of fireworks, but on the days they fail, the onus will be on Rashid and Mujeeb to bail them out.
Best XI: Aaron Finch, Adam Lyth, Chris Lynn, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Ben Stokes, Ben Foakes (wk), David Wiese, David Willey, Adil Rashid, Mujeeb-Ur-Rahman, Richard Gleeson
Gary Kirsten has built a Welsh Fire side that has plenty of batting depth. With Tom Banton, Jonny Bairstow and Colin Ingram selected in the pre-draft, the Fire further strengthened their batting resources by adding Steve Smith, Ben Duckett and Ryan ten Doeschate.
That’s a strong top six, and Bairstow’s omission from the England Test squad could be something that plays into their hands in terms of his availability, should that absence become a prolonged one. The Fire also have a decent top order back up in Leus du Plooy, in the event that Bairstow returns to the England fold.
Mitchell Starc was a much-needed first pick to lead the Fire’s bowling attack, while Ravi Rampaul, Liam Plunkett and David Payne are shrewd domestic selections that give their pace attack a strong look. Afghanistan leg-spinner Qais Ahmad provides them with some mystery spin while Danny Briggs should prove to be a bargain selection at £30k, albeit on a ground not particularly well-suited to spin.
The downside for the Fire is the lack of a top-class all-rounder, leaving their batting looking top heavy and their tail looking overly long. The selection of Smith also represents something of a risk at £125k, given his relatively meagre returns in the shorter forms of the game.
Best XI: Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Steve Smith, Colin Ingram, Ben Duckett, Ryan ten Doeschate, Liam Plunkett, Mitchell Starc, Danny Briggs, Ravi Rampaul, Qais Ahmad
The Invincibles opted for Sunil Narine as their first pick, setting up a mouth-watering opening pair with him and Jason Roy. Sam Billings, who will likely captain the side, Rilee Rossouw and Laurie Evans make up a strong middle order, with Alex Blake and Will Jacks representing value picks in terms of domestic talent.
Tom Moody’s teams tend to be bowling-heavy and his new side looks to be no exception, with plenty of options throughout the line-up. Fabian Allen is a left-arm spinning all-rounder, Sandeep Lamichhane gives them mystery spin, Tom Curran and Reece Topley will bowl at the death and, in Narine, they have arguably the best spinner in the T20 game.
With an average age of 27, the Invincibles have the youngest squad in the Hundred and have a flexible side with good depth. The only question mark is perhaps the lack of a lower order hitter once Allen leaves to play for West Indies, though Jacks has shown promise batting down the order for Surrey in the T20 Blast and could fulfil that role if required.
Best XI: Jason Roy, Sunil Narine, Rilee Rossouw, Laurie Evans, Sam Billings (wk), Fabian Allen, Tom Curran, Hardus Viljoen, Sandeep Lamichhane, Chris Wood, Reece Topley
The Originals sprung a surprise in the first round, opting to pay £125k for Dane Vilas despite the wicket-keeper entering the draft with no reserve price. That set the tone for a focus on experienced domestic picks, with Vilas’ Lancashire connections presenting a compelling case for selection in the eyes of Simon Katich and the coaching staff. Phil Salt, Wayne Madsen and Tom Abell will form the core of their batting unit alongside Jos Buttler, availability notwithstanding.
Katich and co. also appeared to take into account the conditions at Old Trafford, their home ground, which is generally a good place to bowl spin, selecting Mitchell Santner and Imran Tahir as two of their overseas picks. With Matt Parkinson already in the shed from the pre-draft, the Originals have arguably the strongest spin attack in the competition.
Dan Christian was their other overseas pick and he will have to shoulder a lot of the lower order burden, given the Originals’ potentially lengthy tail, should Tahir, Mahmood and Parkinson all play.
The only other area the Originals look a little light is the seam-bowling department. Wayne Parnell and Marchant de Lange are handy options, while Christian and Abell can contribute, but they are perhaps one top quality seamer short. There was therefore a feeling that the Originals had perhaps not made the most of the fine position they were in after the pre-draft picks.
Best XI: Jos Buttler, Phil Salt, Wayne Madsen, Tom Abell, Dane Vilas (wk), Dan Christian, Wayne Parnell, Mitchell Santner, Saqib Mahmood, Imran Tahir, Matt Parkinson
The Lord’s-based team have a strong new ball seam attack, with Mohammad Amir and Mark Wood in the side, while Jade Dernbach gives them a solid option at the death. In the spin department, they have variety with Roloef van der Merwe’s left-arm orthodox spin, Mason Crane’s leg-spin and off-spin from both Mohammad Nabi and Glenn Maxwell.
Nabi bolsters the Spirit’s middle order alongside their pre-draft picks of Eoin Morgan and Dan Lawrence, but the problems lie at the top of the order. With Rory Burns, Joe Denly and Zak Crawley all likely to be involved in some way with England’s Test series against Pakistan. Maxwell will therefore be likely to open the batting, alongside Adam Rossington or Luis Reece.
The potential unavailability of the England Test trio gives the Spirit little wiggle room and could lead to them fielding teams a batsman light, leaving them unbalanced and Amir possibly batting as high as eight.
The Spirit were also the side who focussed least on players from their local catchment area, with no Middlesex or Essex players set to play at Lord’s – besides Morgan and Lawrence who were chosen in the pre-draft – and only Adam Rossington chosen from Northamptonshire.
Best XI: Glenn Maxwell, Joe Denly, Dan Lawrence, Eoin Morgan, Mohammad Nabi, Adam Rossington (wk), Roloef van der Merwe, Mohammad Amir, Mark Wood, Mason Crane, Jade Dernbach
The Phoenix have assembled a flexible team with plenty of all-round options in the middle order. Drafting Liam Livingstone at £125k despite his £60k reserve was a signal of intent that they were looking to build their side around versatile, domestic talent and that theme continued as Ravi Bopara and Benny Howell were selected in later rounds.
At face value, the Phoenix have a fine seam attack, with genuine pace from Shaheen Shah Afridi, Pat Brown and Tom Helm, with Bopara and Howell able to offer more than adequate assistance with cutters and slower balls. Shaheen might yet miss part of the season owing to international duty, but there should be plenty to cover his absence, with Henry Brookes waiting in the wings as well.
Kane Williamson’s involvement with New Zealand tours might scupper their top order batting options, but Cameron Delport and Riki Wessels offer experience and quality while Moeen Ali can captain the side in his stead. Adam Zampa’s presence as the only other frontline spinner is another slight concern, as is the potential length of their tail, but the Phoenix generally have a well-rounded team that looks suited to the format.
Best XI: Kane Williamson, Cameron Delport, Riki Wessels (wk), Moeen Ali, Ravi Bopara, Liam Livingstone, Benny Howell, Adam Zampa, Pat Brown, Tom Helm, Shaheen Shah Afridi
Patrick Noone is an analyst at CricViz.