Ahead of the inaugural draft for The Hundred on October 20, the ECB invited eight media teams to Lord’s, each to represent one of the tournament’s new teams, and to select their 15-man squads for the competition. Here’s how things panned out…
ESPNcricinfo threw down the gauntlet for Darren Lehmann in the media mock draft for The Hundred, picking a strong squad including Andre Russell, Aaron Finch and Tymal Mills.
Representing the Northern Superchargers, our 15-man pool included several stars of the Vitality Blast, as well as several players who have starred on the global T20 circuit, and others who are on England’s radar.
Picking third, after Trent Rockets (Vithushan Ehantharajah and Adam Collins) and Southern Brave (Simon Wilde and Elizabeth Ammon), our first-round pick was the 2019 IPL’s MVP Andre Russell, who would slot into our side as the finisher, listed at No. 6.
After some surprising first-round picks from elsewhere, including Mohammad Nabi and Kane Williamson, we then added Aaron Finch as our opener and captain.
Most teams opted to fill their overseas quota with their first three picks, but we sensed value lower in the draft and ended up selected Imad Wasim – ranked the second-best T20I bowler in the world by the ICC – as low down as round five.
Tymal Mills was therefore our third pick, our first-choice death bowler, and one of two left-arm seamers along with pre-selected local icon David Willey, who could take the new ball along with Imad.
Adil Rashid was another pre-selected local icon, while Olly Stone’s pace would complete a strong, varied attack.
Our batting was filled with left-right combinations, with four left-handers (Cameron Delport, Tom Moores, Delray Rawlins and Imad) and three right-handers (Finch, Tom Abell, and Andre Russell) in the top seven.
There was bench strength, too, in the shape of Steven Croft, Rikki Clarke and the Blast’s leading wicket-taker Ravi Rampaul, with the looming spectre of Ben Stokes ready to slot into the side when permitted by England.
All things considered, our selection panel came out of the draft happy with our afternoon’s work, and optimistic with how our squad will stack up against the one pick by Lehmann on Sunday evening.
There were plenty of high-profile overseas players that failed to make the cut, including Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga from the six men with a £125,000 reserve price, while Mohammad Amir, Chris Lynn, Shane Watson and Faf du Plessis also missed out, illustrating the point that plenty of big names will go unsold in the real thing.
Morne Morkel, Ian Bell, Ryan ten Doeschate and Danny Briggs were among the unsold domestic players, while there was draft-room drama when Manchester Originals (Nick Friend and Huw Turbervill) tried to pick the unheralded Scotland opener George Munsey, only to find he wasn’t in the system.
The main take-home was that the 100 seconds teams have to make their picks is a long time: with analysts pouring their time into depth charts and player roles in recent weeks, there shouldn’t be too many sides scrabbling against the clock.
The draft was halted for an hour midway through due to technical difficulties, and the chance to test the software had been cited as a reason to hold the mock event; regardless of who gets picked, the ECB will be desperate the gremlins are banished from the system in time for Sunday evening.