From the country that created T20 cricket in 2003, way before IPL’s emergence skyrocketed its popularity, we have a new and exciting version of our beloved game; The Hundred. Commencing in 2021, The Hundred sought to make the game pulsating, nerve-wracking and exhilarating at every turn. Judging by the hype around the third edition about to get underway on August 1, the endeavour has been a success.
As the name suggests, The Hundred is a game of 100 balls, per innings. The main deviation from traditional cricket is that the bowling end-change happens after 10 balls rather than 6. A bowler can bowl 5 or 10 consecutive balls as per the captain’s choice, so the concept of fixed six ball overs is obsolete. Each bowler can bowl a maximum of 20 deliveries within this structure.
The trademark time-out of T20 cricket is also present in The Hundred. The strategic time-outs last 90 seconds and can only be availed by bowling teams, once in an innings. Batting teams get a powerplay of 25 balls at the start of the innings. During the powerplay a maximum of 2 fielders are allowed outside of the 30 yard circle.
The Hundred consists of eight teams, each representing a part of the UK. Each team has at least one centrally contracted English player. A maximum of 3 overseas players can be in the squad at a time, however only two can be in the playing eleven. Teams were made in a combination of retention from the previous year, drafts from Vitality Blast and the open market.
The Hundred Teams: Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Braves, Trent Rockets and Welsh Fire.
Squad: Moeen Ali (Captain), Chris Woakes , Ben Duckett, Liam Livingstone, Benny Howell, Will Smeed, Jamie Smith, Tom Helm, Miles Hammond, Chris Benjamin, Dan Mousley, Jacob Bethell, Henry Brookes, Shadab Khan (Pakistan), Adam Milne (New Zealand), Kane Richardson (Australia), Tanveer Sangha (Australia)*
*Sangha will replace Shadab from August 14
Led by England all-rounder Moeen Ali, Birmingham have a very formidable line-up. Their strength lies primarily in their batting. Moeen Ali and Ben Duckett are key cogs in a powerful top order, who will be expected to get them to flying starts. Liam Livingstone is to be the middle order conductor, expected to come in at no.4 and inject impetus or continue carnage.
Having two seaming all rounders in the form of Benny Howell and Chris Woakes means the team will have a nice balance. This will allow them to tinker with the team combination and add an extra bowler or batsman depending on the situation and the opponent. Expect some fireworks from the young Will Smeed, who has shown huge promise in recent times.
Birmingham have gone for an entirely bowling based overseas contingent. The two leg spinners, available at different times, will be their trump-cards. Adam Milne and Kane Richardson will fight for a place alongside the leg spinner, expect both to bring pace and fury right from the start.
Squad: Dan Lawrence (Captain), Mark Wood, Liam Dawson, Zak Crawley, Jordan Thompson, Mason Crane, Adam Rossington, Chris Wood, Ravi Bopara, Michael Pepper, Daniel Bell-Drummond, Matt Critchley, Dan Worrall, Matthew Wade (Australia), Nathan Ellis (Australia), Daryl Mitchell (New Zealand).
The London Spirit have a very solid middle order, which will form the backbone of this team. Dan Lawrence, Ravi Bopara, Daryl Mitchell and Liam Dawson all bring experience and class to the table. Bopara and Dawson will also have to chip in with the ball to bring balance to the side.
However, much will depend on England and Australia internationals Crawley and Wade to provide a platform for the strong middle order to come to the fore. Expect both to continue in their gung-ho approach in an attempt to make use of the powerplay.
Mark Wood will have to lead the relatively less formidable bowling line-up and be the X-factor with his pace. Their combination will be a curious thing to watch as to whether they go for Nathan Ellis to bolster the bowling line-up and sit out one of Wade or Mitchell.
Squad: Jos Buttler (Captain), Phil Salt, Laurie Evans, Jamie Overton, Tom Hartley, Richard Gleeson, Paul Walter, Josh Tongue, Wayne Madsen, Tom Lammonby, Mitchell Stanley, Max Holden, Ben Raine, Ashton Turner (Australia), Josh Little (Ireland), Usama Mir (Pakistan), Zaman Khan (Pakistan)*
*Zaman will replace Little from August 16 but Little will return should Originals make the knockout stage
With one of white ball’s modern day greats in the form of Jos Butler at the helm, Manchester Originals Boast a terrific top order. Phil Salt and Laurie Evans are expected to complement the England captain and will go all guns blazing. If the top three can fire things will be much easier for a relatively untested middle-order.
Ashton Turner will be expected to play the finisher role and close out games with his belligerent hitting in the lower middle order. Much will be expected of young Tom Lammonby, to act as the conduit in the middle order to milk the runs and play the situation.However, there is a feeling that a gap exists between the explosive top 3 and hard hitting lower middle order.
A major strength of the Originals is their fast bowling. The quartet of Josh Little, Josh Tongue, Richard Gleeson and Jamie Overton can be devastating with their pace and aggression. Captain Jos Butler will be looking to use his aces in tandem with the leg spin of Usama Mir, which can be a mouthwatering prospect for Manchester fans.
Squad: Wayne Parnell (Captain), Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, Harry Brook, Reece Topley, Tom Banton, Adam Lyth, Adam Hose, Brydon Carse, Matthew Potts, Bas de Leede, Callum Parkinson, Ollie Robinson, Saif Zaib, Matthew Short (Australia), David Wiese (Namibia)
The surprise came from Supercharges when they announced Wayne Parnell to be the captain ahead of Ben Stokes, whose charismatic leadership transformed the England test side. He will still form the spine of this side in a mighty middle order with Harry Brook and Bas de Leede.
The Northerners also boast a terrific top order, as the hard-hitting trio of Tom Banton, Matthew Short and Adam Hose all are expected to play significant parts. Coupling this with the lower order power-hitting prowess of Parnell and Wiese, the Superchargers boast one of the most well rounded batting line-ups in the tournament.
Spin Wizard Adil Rashid will be their key bowler with his wrong-uns. He should be well complemented by Parnell, Ollie Robinson and Reece Topley. Whether stokes bowls and if so, how much, will be crucial to the combinations of their line-up. How they fit in David Wiese’s ball striking ability within the structure of a team will be very interesting to watch.
Squad: Sam Billings (Captain), Sam Curran, Will Jacks, Jason Roy, Tom Curran, , Ross Whiteley, Jordan Cox, Gus Atkinson, Danny Briggs, Nathan Sowter, Tawanda Muyeye, Zak Chappell, Tom Lawes, Sunil Narine (West Indies), Heinrich Klaasen (South Africa), Ihsanullah Khan (Pakistan), Adam Zampa (Australia)*, Jimmy Neesham (New Zealand)*
*Zampa will replace Narine when he leaves for the Caribbean Premier League; Neesham will replace Klaasen from August 20
One glance and anyone can see how strong the Invincible's batting order is. In Will Jacks and Jason Roy they have two of the most destructive white ball openers around. Captain Billings and Protea ace Klassen will form a middle order packed with power and improvisation. Young Jordan Cox is a batter who can excel around some seasoned pros and provide stability to the middle order.
Jimmy Nisham, when he comes in, will be the hard-hitting finisher. However, the key cogs of this team will be the all-rounder brothers Sam and Tom Curran. Both will be expected to hit some lusty blows at the death and get wickets with the ball. They will also provide the extra dimension which should allow the Invincibles to tinker with their team when needed.
Speaking of wickets, mystery man Sunil Narine will be expected to lead the attack, till he departs. Adam Zampa will then take the mantle, both should be well supported by an attack possessing deceptive variations. Gus Atkinson in particular, along with the Curran brothers will be the vital components of a pace bowling unit that leans more towards skill than raw pace.
Squad: James Vince (Captain), Jofra Archer (Ruled Out), Leus du Plooy, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Rehan Ahmed, Craig Overton, George Garton, James Fuller, Alex Davies, Joe Weatherley, Jafer Chohan, Matt Fisher, Tim David (Australia), Devon Conway (New Zealand), Finn Allen (New Zealand), Mitchell Santner (New Zealand)*
*Santner will replace David from August 20
Led by the calm and calculating James Vince, the champions of 2021 edition have a fearsome fast bowling unit. The English quartet of Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills, Craig Overton and George Garton will spearhead the Southerners’ charge towards another title. Young leg-spin sensation Rehan Ahmed will still be the X-factor in this lineup and the seamers will operate around him.
Don’t let the focus on their bowling mislead you, the Braves have a very strong, orthodox and technical batting line-up. The Twin Kiwis Finn Allen and Devon Conway, along with Captain James Vince, form a solid Top order. The power will be brought by Tim David down the order, until he is replaced by all-rounder Mitchell Santner. Another all-rounder James fuller could be vital with his lower-middle order power-hitting exploits.
The big miss will obviously be pace sensation Jofra Archer, who was ruled out for the entire summer after his recurring injury issues. Matt Fisher, another bowler plagued by injury history could step up in his place and make a real difference. But the middle-order seems to lack the skill and diversity to connect a solid top 3 to a powerful lower order, on paper at least.
Squad: Lewis Gregory (Captain), Joe Root, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dawid Malan, Alex Hales, Luke Wood, Sam Cook, Samit Patel, Sam Hain, Brad Wheal, Matt Carter, John Turner, Tom Moores, Rashid Khan (Afghanistan), Colin Munro (New Zealand), Daniel Sams (Australia), Ish Sodhi (New Zealand)*
*Sodhi will replace Rashid from August 10
The veteran all-rounder Lewis Gregory was chosen as the captain for defending champions; and he can count on a very strong batting line-up. Alex Hales, Colin Munro, Dawid Malan and Joe Root will form a formidable top four, possessing class power and improvisation. Kohler Cadmore and Samit Patel are good ball strikers who will complement the strong top order.
However, all eyes will still be on the man from Afghanistan, the remarkable Rashid Khan. His bowling will be the focus and we expect him to light up this tournament like he does any other. His batting can also entertain crowds and get some vital runs in the lower order, and no doubt everybody will watch out for the snake-shot.
When Rashid leaves, it will leave a gaping hole, he will be replaced by Ish Sodhi. While not as box office as the Afghan entertainer, Sodhi is a capable wicket taker. He will have to be supported by Sam Cook and Luke Wood, as the English fast bowlers will look to get wickets with the moving ball. Samit Patel will have a crucial role with his left arm spinner, particularly as a container.
Squad: Johnny Bairstow (Captain), Tom Abell, David Willey, Joe Clarke, Ben Green, David Payne, Roelof van der Merwe, Jake Ball, Stephen Eskinazi, Dan Douthwaite, George Scrimshaw, Luke Wells, Chris Cooke, Shaheen Afridi (Pakistan), Glenn Phillips (New Zealand), Haris Rauf (Pakistan).
With Johnny Bairstow taking the reins, we can expect Welsh Fire to play a fiery brand of cricket. A Top order of Bairstow himself, Tom Abell and Joe Clarke will no doubt look to fire all cylinders, right from the word go. Glenn Phillips will be the middle order mainstay, looking to bat in his usual blistering and busy way.
Pakistan Pace ace Shaheen Afridi will lead the attack, the conditions in England are bound to aid him as he looks to swing the ball at devastating pace. Fellow left arm seamer David Payne will look to complement Afridi with the new ball aided by the nifty movement he extracts off the surface. In some matches we might get to see the Rauf and Afridi duo, which could be an exciting prospect.
English Allrounder, Ben Green will be an essential player to the combination of Welsh Fire. With his powerful hitting in the lower middle order and ability to bowl fast, wicket taking spells, he can be their difference maker. However, it doesn’t mask the fact that Fire are slightly light in terms of elite quality in the all-rounder department.
Let the buzz begin
Each team is set and no doubt have their strategies in place for the month-long tournament of cracking cricket. A new form of cricket is set to take the stage by storm and cricket fans are eagerly waiting for the opener between Trent Rockets and Southern Braves on August 1. It is a game of glorious uncertainty and the hundred’s format makes it even more unpredictable. All we can expect is a roller coaster ride till the culmination of the tournament on August 27.