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The Hundred Draft: How the squads shape up

Patrick Noone looks at the make-up of each Hundred team after yesterday’s draft

*All ‘Best XI’ lists assume availability for whole squad

Trent Rockets

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

Southern Brave

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

Northern Superchargers

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

Welsh Fire

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

Oval Invincibles

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

Manchester Originals

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

London Spirit

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

Birmingham Phoenix

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.

@patnoonecricket

The Hundred Draft: Five things to look out for

Patrick Noone looks ahead to Sunday’s draft and picks out the key factors that will determine how the eight teams look to build their squads.

The importance of Kolpaks

With only three overseas players per side allowed, the presence of a number of Kolpak players could make for tempting selections for teams looking to preserve their overseas picks. Kolpak players are classed as domestic players, despite many of them having substantial international experience. This fact makes players such as Wayne Parnell, Ravi Rampaul and Hardus Viljoen more appealing picks than they otherwise would be if they were in the draft as overseas players.

The potential knock-on effect, should teams choose to target Kolpaks ahead of overseas players perceived to be over-valued, is that several big name players will likely go unsold. The overseas players with a reserve price of £75k would likely be the most vulnerable, meaning players as high profile as Dale Steyn and Babar Azam could well find themselves unsold.

Distribution of overseas picks

Different teams will adopt different strategies, with one aspect to look for being how each coach manages their overseas picks. All of the available players with a reserve price of £125k are overseas, so the chances are that at least the first two rounds will be dominated by overseas picks. But after that is where things could get interesting.

There are of course plenty of top quality overseas options in the £100k bracket that teams will be tempted to go for, but doing so would likely mean they will have used up their overseas picks at the earliest opportunity, leaving only domestic players to pick for the remaining rounds. The alternative is to focus on under-valued domestic talent in the middle rounds and hope to pick up a lower-priced overseas player later on, such as Luke Ronchi (£40k reserve) or Imad Wasim (£50k reserve). 

Oval Invincibles, London Spirit and Birmingham Phoenix are in an interesting position with regard to this, given that they already have one of their two £125k picks selected from the pre-draft. This means that, should they target domestic talent in the £100k bracket, they would have two overseas spots to fill lower down the list. As the draft develops, the way teams decide to allocate their overseas slots will provide a good indication of the kind of identity the coaches want to build in their side.

Coaches’ preferences

Though the Hundred might be a new competition, and the very concept of player drafts an unfamiliar one in English sport, many of the key figures involved on Sunday will be veterans of similar processes in other parts of the world. Each of the eight coaches have worked with T20 franchises in various leagues around the world and bring with them a wealth of connections, past relationships and shared knowledge with several players in the draft.

Those links could provide some clues as to who will end up where. For instance, Birmingham Phoenix coach Andrew McDonald has enjoyed great success at Melbourne Renegades in the Big Bash League with Aaron Finch as his captain, so it would not be a surprise to see him resume that relationship at Edgbaston. Similarly, Southern Brave’s Mahela Jayawardene has coached and worked with Lasith Malinga at Mumbai Indians in the IPL, having obviously played together for Sri Lanka, so could target him as a seam bowling option.

Of course, coaches are not wedded to their former players, but each has their own style and will know the best players available to fit that style, based on previous tournaments. Identifying players to perform leadership roles will be as important to the coaches as batting or bowling, so the chances of them looking to players they know they can rely on are high.

Impact of England Test players’ availability

Each team is, at face value, starting from an equal position in terms of players chosen in the pre-draft, with one England red ball player assigned to each team. However, the likely availability of those players when the tournament comes around makes for some interesting nuances with regard to how teams will look to pick their remaining players.

For instance, Ben Stokes is almost certain to be involved in England’s Test series against Pakistan, making Northern Superchargers’ decision to pick him over Jonny Bairstow a poor one. Bairstow has just been left out of England’s Test squad for the New Zealand tour and, should his absence continue into the home summer, Welsh Fire would have one of the best short form batsmen in the world available for the majority of the competition so their need to draft top order batsmen would be lessened, meaning they can focus on other areas of the squad.

Conversely, if Bairstow does find his way back into the England fold, it could well be at the expense of Jos Buttler, who was picked up by Manchester Originals in the pre-draft and whose availability could potentially change a decent side into a very good one. Therefore, should the Originals look to secure a gun top order batsman for a high price early in the draft, or gamble on Buttler being available and focus on the middle order?

These are the kind of factors that coaches and management teams will be weighing up when they consider who to target in the draft.

Effect of the Future Tours Programme

It’s not just England players who will be affected by scheduled internationals around the same time as the Hundred takes place. West Indies host both New Zealand and South Africa across three different formats in late July and early August, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh play a Test series at the same time while Pakistan’s Test players will obviously be busy facing England.

The ramifications of the proposed international calendar are huge for the Hundred. For example, a player like Kane Williamson is an attractive pick, even at £100k, given that he has captaincy experience and bat anywhere in the top three playing a variety of roles. But given that he will be busy with New Zealand for a sizeable chunk of the competition, teams might reason that resources could be better allocated elsewhere, or they might decide that his leadership is an asset worth paying for, even for a truncated period of time.

Patrick Noone is an analyst at CricViz.

@patnoonecricket