The Hundred will mark a milestone in the game of cricket. A new format involving 100 balls per game will be introduced with this tournament. Involving eight teams based out of different cities across England and Wales, The Hundred will start on July 22nd at the Oval and will go on for a month until August 21st, on which the final would be played at the Lord’s. Both the Men’s and Women’s games will occur parallelly, and equal prominence will be given to them. While the English cricketers headline the event, some popular overseas cricketers have also signed up for the competition. In this article, we take a look at five players to look forward to in ”The Hundred’.
1) Alex Hales – Trent Rockets
It has been over two years that Alex Hales has donned the English jersey. After his ban for consumption of a recreational substance, the opener has not been part of the squad. He has also drawn criticism of the board and some of the senior players since then.
That said, the right-hander has been in terrific form in franchise-based T20 leagues. While he top-scored in BBL 2021 with 543 runs in 15 games, he has already scored 428 runs in 13 Vitality T20 Blast games so far. ‘The Hundred’ will be a format that’s suitable to a hard-hitting opener like Hales. Moreover, it will be the first time since the ban that almost all England cricketers will play on the same stage as he is. Hence, he will also have a point to prove.
2) Shafali Verma – Birmingham Phoenix
Shafali Verma happens to be one of the most exciting stars in the game right now. Just 17 years old, the right-hand batter currently stands at No.1 in the list of ICC’s Women’s T20I batting rankings. Popular for her brisk starts and attacking display of batting, Verma’s current T20I career strike rate is 145.19, a stat that makes her one of the players to look forward to in ”The Hundred’.
Fearless in her approach, Shafali has already acclimatized to English conditions with good knocks and productive starts in the Tests and limited-overs games. The Hundred will feature her in a different team atmosphere, and it is interesting to witness how she would respond. Whilst her strategy is likely to remain the same, we could see a more destructive version of the opener as the team innings would last for only 100 deliveries.
3) Faf du Plessis – Northern Superchargers
Despite the presence of Ben Stokes in the squad, it is Faf du Plessis who will lead the Northern Superchargers at the tournament. Faf will also be one of the star overseas attractions of the competition. While the South African has got two fifties in his last three T20I innings, in IPL, he has been the best batsman for CSK in the l ast two seasons.
A player who relies more on timing than brute force, Faf’s inventiveness will add to the suitability of his profile for the 100-ball tournament. Known to be a prolific run-scorer in the powerplay, Faf’s role will be to make the maximum use of the 25-ball powerplay window in this format. Hence, he is one of the players to look forward to in ”The Hundred’.
4) Rashid Khan – Trent Rockets
ICC’s No.2 T20I bowler at the moment, Rashid Khan is a terrific bowler in the format. We have seen situations where the opposition has tried to see off Rashid’s overs and attack the others.
However, in the Hundred, this may not be possible. Teams can field bowlers for consecutive ten deliveries, that too without changing ends. Batsmen cannot afford to be conservative for ten balls at a stretch, and that’s where Rashid will come into the game. Hence, the leggie is likely to be impactful in this format as well.
5) Lockie Ferguson – Manchester Originals
Although he is rated highly as a good T20 bowler, Lockie Ferguson has only played 13 T20Is so far. In IPL, as well, opportunities have been hard to come by for the Kiwi. With the World T20 slated for this year, Lockie will be keen to put on a show.
If you take a look at the Manchester Originals squad, Lockie could be one of the important pacers for the team. The format of the game will also suit the pacer’s style. In the past, whenever Lockie has got into the groove, it’s been hard to play him. Such an impact was visible in the second half of IPL 2020 when he played for KKR. Since a bowler can deliver ten balls on the trot in the Hundred, Ferguson will have a better chance of being on top of the batsman.