The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) headed franchise-based league, ‘The Hundred’, takes a stride towards eradicating the differences in its men’s and women’s league of the 100-ball tournament. While the women’s league stands neck-to-neck on many fronts with the men’s league, there was a key difference in the women’s edition lacking the draft process for player selection that now has been addressed.
England women’s team and Lord’s Spirit skipper, Heather Knight, on the draft said, “It is brilliant news that the Hundred will be holding the first-ever draft in the women’s game, and it’ll be fascinating to see who is first pick. We’ve already talked about it as a playing group – it’s really exciting and I think we’ve seen in the men’s game that drafts really get people discussing and debating selection, so it’s great that the women’s competition will be part of that conversation.”
Under the new system, the existing salary cap for the eight women’s teams will be replaced as at least 32 domestic and overseas players are in the reckoning to be picked. The first step, ‘Retention‘, will go on in December and January and the process will see each team retain up to 4 of its players from the 2022 edition with a maximum of 3 marquee players – a maximum of 2 England women or two overseas players.
The next step, ‘Draft‘, will take place in March next year, 2023. Each team in the draft will pick at least 4 players to bring their squads to a total of 8 players. Welsh Fire, who finished at the bottom of the seedings in the 02, 2022 edition, will be given the first pick choice, while Oval Invincibles, the winners of the two editions of the women’s league, will be given the last choice to pick.
The 3rd and final step, ‘Open Market’, will go from March to June of 2023 and the teams will sign their remaining 7 players to close out their respective squads of 15. The signings in this stage will be within the bottom 3 salary bands which will see each team have a maximum of 3 contracted players and 3 overseas players.
Head of the Women’s Hundred, Beth Barrett-Wild, said, “Introducing the draft represents another landmark moment for women’s sport in this country, as The Hundred continues to break new ground and accelerate professionalism within women’s cricket.
“The impact of the Hundred on the women’s game after just two editions of the competition has been enormous, generating unprecedented levels of visibility, making household names of our brilliant female players, and driving performance standards.
“The inclusion of a draft going into year three builds on all of this. It demonstrates progress off the field, and also acts to support all eight teams in creating evenly balanced squads on the field, with the aim of delivering the most exciting contest yet for fans to enjoy.”
(Quotes sourced from ESPN Cricinfo)
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