Ashes star Steve Smith heads a star-studded overseas contingent throwing their hats into the ring for the inaugural draft of The Hundred.
England’s centrally-contracted Test players will be the first to be allocated when the eight franchises are formally unveiled on Thursday, with the rest of the squads being determined at a live television event on October 20.
And there has been no shortage of interest from around the world. Australia’s master batsman Smith will be joined by compatriots David Warner, Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc, while the top-ranked batsman and bowler in Twenty20 cricket – Babar Azam and Rashid Khan – have also put their names forward.
Big-name veterans of the white-ball formats are also present and correct, including Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga.
Some names have been announced for the draft of #thehundred!— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) October 1, 2019
Shakib Al Hasan
Quinton de Kock
Have all entered the draft. pic.twitter.com/zATMolvZcn
Although England’s red-ball players will have only a limited role in the tournament, several member of the triumphant World Cup squad should play a full part.
Captain Eoin Morgan heads a group which includes Tom Curran and Liam Plunkett. Jason Roy and Moeen Ali are also up for grabs, suggesting the pair may not be due a Test return any time soon.
South Africans Kagiso Rabada and Faf Du Plessis and Quinton De Kock are also available, as is New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
Provided by Press Association Sports
Pakistan will eye a series-clinching win over Sri Lanka as the two sides get ready to meet in the third and final ODI at Karachi on Wednesday.
Sarfraz Ahmed and his men have one hand on the bilateral trophy after taking a 1-0 lead in the series and they will look to finish the job against the islanders to give head coach and chief selector Misbah-ul-Haq the perfect start to his tenure.
The hosts proved too good for the Lankans in the second ODI on Monday with Babar Azam’s 11th ton setting up a commanding win, but they will target further improvements with the ball after allowing the visitors to recover from a shaky start.
Sri Lanka had been reduced to 28-5 in their daunting run chase of 308 but were propelled by a 177-run stand for the sixth wicket between Shehan Jayasuriya and Dasun Shanaka to give the hosts an almighty scare.
“We have to improve our lines and lengths in the middle overs. The way we batted, the score was good,” skipper Sarfraz had stated after the 67-run win.
The wicketkeeper batsman has promised to ring the changes for Pakistan, which will come as welcome news for the likes of Mohammad Hasnain, Abid Ali and Mohammad Nawaz who missed the cut in Monday’s clash.
“We’ll try to give everyone a chance through this series, even the guys on our bench are first priority players for us,” Sarfraz explained.
For the rejigged visitors who are missing a host of star names such as Lasith Malinga and Dimuth Karunarante, Wednesday’s clash will be another opportunity for youngsters to grab their chance.
“It was a great effort by Shehan and Dasun,” stand-in skipper Lahiru Thirimanne said after the second ODI.
Pakistan batting ace @babarazam258 celebrated the return of ODI cricket to National Stadium Karachi by securing a spot on the NSK Honours Board. Well played Babar, we have more space available for you, seal it!#PAKvSL pic.twitter.com/1yaaHUUvRd— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 1, 2019
“Shehan took the chance and batted really well. It’s (Pakistan tour) a great opportunity, the youngsters should make the most of it.”
Should Pakistan be able to trumph in the third ODI, it will be their first bilateral series win over 14 months with their previous victory coming against Zimbabwe (5-0) in July last year.
The hosts will also hope for a better turnout at the National Stadium in Karachi after sparse crowds greeted the two teams in the second ODI. This is despite the clash being termed as international cricket’s homecoming to the city after a gap of nearly 10 years.
Pakistan: Fakhar Zaman, Imam-ul-Haq, Babar Azam, Abid Ali, Sarfraz Ahmed (c and wk), Iftikhar Ahmed, Imad Wasim, Mohammad Nawaz, Mohammad Amir, Usman Shinwari, and Mohammad Hasnain.
Sri Lanka: Dasushka Gunathilaka, Sadeera Samarawickrama (wk), Avishka Fernando, Oshada Fernando, Shehan Jayasuriya, Lahiru Thirimanne (c), Dasun Shanaka, Wanindu Hasaranga, Isuru Udana, Lahiru Kumara and Nuwan Pradeep.
Pakistan will reportedly take on Ireland and the Netherlands in limited-overs clashes prior to their tour of England in 2020.
The Men in Green are slated to take on England in three Tests and as many T20s in the summer next year with the opening clash scheduled to begin on July 30.
According to a report by Geo TV, the Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) have been able to finalise a total of five limited-overs clashes against the Dutch and Irish in the lead up to the tour of England.
The report states that the Men in Green will take on Netherlands first up in a three-match ODI series before they lock horns with Ireland in two T20 clashes. The five matches are expected to take place in the month of July ahead of the three-match Test series between England and Pakistan.
An official announcement for the same is expected soon by the PCB.
For Netherlands, it will be the first ODI meeting against Pakistan since their 97-run loss to the Men in Green in the 2003 ICC World Cup in South Africa. The two teams have met thrice in the format previously with Pakistan prevailing on every single occasion.
Ireland, meanwhile, have played Pakistan only once previously in the T20 format with the Men in Green emerging victors by 39 runs during the 2009 World T20 clash between the two sides at the Oval in London.
Pakistan are currently involved in an ongoing ODI series against Sri Lanka at Karachi with the third and final match set to take place at the National Stadium on Wednesday. The two teams will then move on to Lahore for the T20I leg of the tour with the three-match series slated to begin on October 5.