The Hundred draft: Russell among first picks but Gayle goes unsigned

By Sports Desk October 20, 2019

Rashid Khan entered the history books as the first player picked in the draft for the inaugural season of The Hundred, while Andre Russell was snapped up but Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga went unsigned.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid, the ICC's top-ranked Twenty20 bowler, was selected in the top-tier £125,000 bracket by the Trent Rockets to join a team that also includes England Test captain Joe Root, Alex Hales and Australia big-hitter D'Arcy Short.

West Indies' electric all-rounder Andre Russell was the second man chosen and is bound for the Southern Brave, where Australia slogger David Warner and England's lightning paceman Jofra Archer are among his team-mates.

"I'm feeling good, I was nervous before, it's the first time being in the draft in this competition," Russell said. 

"I've got a lot to offer, a 100 ball [format] is definitely see ball, hit ball. I don't have to worry about my head [with Archer as a team-mate]. He's a great character. 

"I will try to just bowl faster than him."

Windies legend Gayle and veteran Sri Lanka quick Malinga will not be involved in the tournament, which starts in July next year, after their reserve prices were not met.

Welsh Fire selected world-class Australian quality with the menacing Mitchell Starc and superstar batsman Steve Smith joining England international Jonny Bairstow.

Northern Superchargers coach Darren Lehmann went with Australian familiarity by selecting Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn. 

Lehmann also chose Mujeeb Ur Rahman for a team that already has England's Cricket World Cup hero Ben Stokes.

Glenn Maxwell, Mohammad Nabi, Mohammad Amir and Mark Wood link up with Eoin Morgan – who skippered England to World Cup glory – at London Spirit, while classy New Zealand star Kane Williamson and Ravi Bopara are headed to the Birmingham Phoenix.

Manchester Originals landed Imran Tahir for their top-bracket selection, while Sunil Narine offers spin and top-order explosiveness for the Oval Invincibles.

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    Smith averaged an astonishing 110.57 in a drawn Ashes series in England on his return to the Test stage after serving a one-year ban for his part in the Newlands ball-tampering scandal.

    The former captain will be the prized scalp for Pakistan when they attempt to secure a first series win in Australia in the longest format.

    Misbah wants to see his formidable fast bowlers frustrate the top-ranked Test batsman in the world when the series gets under way at the Gabba on Thursday.

    The Pakistan head coach said: "As far as Steve Smith goes, there's a blind spot for every top batsman in the world; as a bowler you're always interested in pitching the ball there.

    "It's important that we bowl with consistency there. Our bowlers are executing the plans very well right now, and hopefully we'll be able to build that kind of a pressure and stay disciplined, especially early in the innings.

    "No matter how good a batsman is batting, it's about consistency and bowling the maximum balls in those areas that build pressure and the batsman respects you, and you force him to make a mistake.

    "All the batsmen you talk to, any batsman in the world, that's the area where you have to defend a ball, and that is a six-to-eight-metre spot where you have to play the top of off stump.

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    "You have to be very, very disciplined, just keep the ball there, and if it's happening you are already in the game."

    The former Pakistan captain added:  "The kind of form he is in, there's no doubt Steve Smith is a batting genius. We will try our best to execute our plans and dismiss him."

     

    Key Opta facts

    - Pakistan have lost their last two multi-game bilateral Test series, they have not lost more consecutive series in the format since losing all three they competed in across 2007.

    - Pat Cummins' tally of 87 Test wickets is more than any other bowler has taken since the start of 2018.

    -  Australia are undefeated in their last 30 Tests at the Gabba - winning 23 of those matches. Their last defeat at the Brisbane venue was against West Indies in 1988.

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    A Nicholas Pooran-less West Indies did not have the power to deal with Afghanistan over the course of a three-match T20I series, the wicketkeeper/batsman missing out while he serves a four-match ban over ball tampering.

    Steve Smith, who had been banned for a year for the part he played in a ball-tampering scandal, lost his captaincy of Australia, and is only months back with the side.

    Pooran was only banned for four games but Smith doesn’t feel the talented middle-order batsman should be punished anymore harshly.

    "Everyone is different, every board is different, and the way they deal with certain issues. For me, I copped it on the chin... it is what it is,” he said.

    Smith expects a better Pooran to come out of the embarrassment of being caught cheating.

    “I know Nicholas, I've played a bit of cricket with him and he's a talented player and someone with a bright future," Smith said.

    "I think he'll learn from his mistake and move past it,” he said.

    I played with him in the Caribbean league at Barbados. I think he's going to be an exceptional player in white-ball cricket."

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