Australia batsman David Warner has re-entered The Hundred draft, heading up a star-studded cast of over 500 players chasing 35 remaining slots in the competition.
The inaugural edition of the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new 100-ball tournament was delayed as a result of the pandemic and will now launch this summer, with the final player picks to be settled in a virtual session on Monday.
The majority of selections from the last year’s televised draft have been retained during the renegotiation period, but there are still seven overseas places and 28 domestic positions to fill.
More than 250 candidates have put their names forward in each category, but Warner is perhaps the most surprising. He was a first-round pick by Southern Brave in 2020 but pulled out in the early stages of the pandemic due to scheduling issues.
The batsman had not been expected to re-enter this year’s draft, but the postponement of Australia’s tour of South Africa has eased his workload and Warner has decided to make himself available. He is one of 10 overseas players who have set the highest possible reserve price of £100,000, joined by the likes of Babar Azam, Quinton de Kock, Kagiso Rabada, Lockie Ferguson, Shakib-al-Hasan, Jason Holder, Kieron Pollard, Nicholas Pooran and Tamim Iqbal.
There is no Steve Smith or Mitchell Starc, both of whom initially signed up with Welsh Fire, but Marnus Labuschagne is another big name Australian on on the list at a reserve of £60,000.
Three members of England’s Test squad in India are taking part in the draft, with Ben Foakes, Olly Stone and Dom Bess all unclaimed as yet. Foakes had originally signed with Northern Superchargers but his deal was not rolled over.
Saqib Mahmood, Ravi Bopara, Jamie Overton and Jake Ball are other notable English players still seeking contracts. Manchester Originals will be the most active franchise in the draft, with 10 places to fill having overhauled their squad almost entirely, while Welsh Fire have seven spots open.
Only three of the domestic contingent in a field of 254 have set base prices, with former England all-rounder Tim Bresnan available for £48,000 and Ryan ten Doeschate and Richard Levi set at £32,000.