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Steve Smith, David Warner, Chris Gayle among most expensive players in The Hundred draft

Steve Smith (Photo by Steve Bardens/Getty Images)

The Hundred is yet another sensation in the game and the first edition of the tournament is set to be held in England and Wales will take place next year. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has announced that the Australian duo Steve Smith and David Warner and the West Indies’ Chris Gayle are among the most expensive players listed in the draft of the competition which will be held on Sunday.

Both Smith and Warner returned to international cricket earlier this year after serving a year-long ban following the Sandpapergate scandal in South Africa in March 2018 and they have shown good forms. Warner had a good World Cup in England and Wales in May-July. Smith, however, slammed 774 runs in just four Tests in the recently concluded Ashes in England. Gayle, who turned 40 last month, continues to be the evergreen ‘Universe Boss’ even though he failed to get a farewell in Tests at home against India last month.

Mitchell Starc also among the pricey players in The Hundred

“Left-arm Australian pacer Mitchell Starc is another player from Down Under in the six-man group that is set to command a mammoth £125,000 (Rs 1.14 crore) reserve price,” the ECB said in a statement. Sri Lankan seamer Lasith Malinga and South African speedster Kagiso Rabada are other players who have found themselves in the top bracket for the inaugural edition of The Hundred, which will be played in July-August next year.

Australia have also dominated the coaching sphere in The Hundred. Five of the eight city-based sides featuring in the tournament have coaches from Down Under. The likes of Shane Warne, Darren Lehmann and Tom Moody have been appointed at the helm. No England coach is in charge of any of the teams.

Among players from outside the UK who are in the fray with an impressive £100,000 (Rs 91.43 lakh) reserve price are Afghanistan skipper Rashid Khan and Andre Russell. There are 239 players from outside the UK who will enter the draft. Besides, there are 331 domestic players who are part of the draft and among them are Mark Wood and Liam Plunkett who were part of the Three Lions’ World Cup-winning squad at home.

“Teams will select 12 players on the night — with a maximum of three overseas picks — who will join the already-announced England red-ball contracted players and Local Icons,” the ECB statement added.

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