Azim, Afridi & Wolvaardt among stars for The Hundred Draft

A host of high-profile names including the likes of Babar Azam, Laura Wolvaardt and Shaheen Afridi will be on offer in The Hundred Draft ahead of the third year of the competition. 

Teams will have the pick of 881 players from 28 countries when they select their squads on Thursday March 23, with 113 players having been retained across both the men’s and women’s competitions leaving 135 vacant spots.

Among the international stars also available will be Jemimah Rodrigues, Mitchell Starc and Harmanpreet Kaur.

English players without a team include Ben Duckett, Danni Wyatt, Sophia Dunkley, Sarah Glenn and Reece Topley, while Starc’s decision to sign up sees him accompanied by fellow Australians in Marcus Stoinis, Adam Zampa, Mitchell Marsh, Grace Harris and Amanda-Jade Wellington.

Starc is one of six players to have placed a top-tier reserve price of £125,000 on themselves in the men’s draft alongside Kieron Pollard, Shakib Al Hasan, countrymen Stoinis and Zampa and Lancashire’s Tom Bailey.

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A look back at the best plays from the second season of The Hundred as overseas and domestic players starred alike.

Welsh Fire occupy the No 1 pick in the men’s draft after losing all eight games in 2022, while their women’s team will also select first by way of their 1-5 record at the bottom of the table.

Trent Rockets enter as reigning men’s champions following their victory over Manchester Originals in last season’s final, with Oval Invincibles returning to chase down a third consecutive women’s Hundred crown.

“It’s really great that the women’s competition is hosting The Hundred Draft for the first time this season,” said Wolvaardt, top run-scorer in the ICC Women’s T20 World Cup. “It goes to show the continued progression of the women’s game and you only need to look across the names already retained to see it’s a world-class competition. I’m really excited for the day itself and finding out where I’ll be playing next season. It’s a great competition, with big crowds, and it’s going to be a lot of fun to get out there this summer.”

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Welsh Fire’s Tammy Beaumont says The Hundred is great for women’s sport and discusses the newly-announced upcoming third season of the event.

South African speedster Anrich Nortje also features among those up for grabs with Dane van Niekerk and Shabnim Ismail, and New Zealand are represented by Sophie Devine, Suzie Bates, Kane Williamson and Trent Boult. Pakistan’s Muhammad Rizwan, Haris Rauf and Diana Baig will also be available for selection, Kaur leads a group of Indian players including Deepti Sharma and Shikha Pandey, Shakib Al Hasan flies the flag for Bangladesh, Pollard is joined by West Indies countryman Andre Russell and Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Mohammad Nabi of Afghanistan who have both signed up.

ICC Men’s T20 World Cup winner David Willey said: “It’s always exciting when you watch a draft and you wait to see where you’re heading to play. The Hundred has been a lot of fun to play in across the last two seasons. We’ve had great crowds and they’ve made for some really good atmospheres. There’s a lot of world-class talent going into the draft and I’m looking forward to finding out where I’ll be playing in the summer.”

Trent Rockers will take on Southern Brave in a double-header to open the new season on Tuesday August 1