Chris Gayle misses out in The Hundred mock draft as Sky Sports picks Welsh Fire squad in warm-up
The Hundred Draft will be live on Sky Sports Cricket, Main Event & Sky One from 7pm on Sunday
By Oli Burley
Last Updated: 19/10/19 3:17pm
'Er. Could someone WhatsApp Chris Gayle and send him our commiserations…?'
Such might be the message emanating from the ECB this weekend should Sunday's live draft for The Hundred mirror the mock version undertaken by journalists at Lord's on Wednesday.
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Gayle was the chief casualty of the fantasy draft, as media teams road-tested the laptops and technology to be used for the real thing at Sky Studios on Sunday.
But he wasn't the only player with a top-tier reserve price of £125k to miss out on selection - Lasith Malinga also left by the wayside despite a desperate flurry early on to snap up premier bowlers - while in lower price brackets Shane Watson, Mohammad Amir and Faf du Plessis proved surplus to requirements.
Each media team of two, representing one of the eight teams in The Hundred, had up to 100 seconds to make their team selections and Trent Rockets - with the honour of first pick in a pre-drawn order - wasted little time in bagging mystery spinner Rashid Khan.
Sky Sports Cricket (Oli Burley and David Currie) were tasked with building Welsh Fire into a formidable proposition - presumably as one of our great, great grandfathers chiselled a living from the mines and the other had once been on a stag do in Cardiff.
Oddly, though, our sense of affinity to the jet-red outfit already boasting Jonny Bairstow and local icon players Tom Banton and Colin Ingram grew as quickly as our desire to scupper our rivals by second-guessing and nicking their targets.
The precariousness of the task quickly became apparent as left-armer Mitchell Starc, number one on our wish-list, was taken by Southern Brave but the services of paceman Kagiso Rabada and Kane Williamson were quickly secured. The later addition of left-armer Shaheen Afridi offered some vital variety with Henry Brookes an exciting prospect on the bench.
Given the short straight boundaries at Cardiff a factor, picking two frontline spinners in an XI felt like a luxury so Matt Critchley got an early nod with Will Beer providing cover later on. The selection of wicketkeeper Ben Cox could also wait until the later rounds, given either Banton or Bairstow could do a job with the gloves.
Quite how much Bairstow will be around next summer, due to international commitments, is a moot point so Joe Clarke is on stand-by to step in at the top of the order.
The pre-ordained placement of icon players in the draft meant that Welsh Fire did no business in Round Two, the £100k bracket, so all we could do was sit back and watch as the likes of Quinton de Kock and Imran Tahir went elsewhere.
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But that's the beauty of picking your team as part of a draft rather than in isolation - which you can do on the official The Hundred website here.
As Welsh Fire's Gary Kirsten and his co-coaches will find out on Sunday, the best-laid plans and hopes are far from guaranteed from coming to fruition, but therein lies the challenge. It will be compelling viewing.
How to watch the Hundred Draft
Join us for the UK's first-ever cricket player draft on October 20 when Sky Sports broadcasts 'The Hundred Draft - Live'!
Welsh Fire XI (as selected by Sky Sports Cricket)
Tom Banton (r/h opening batsman)
- Local icon player (£100K)
Jonny Bairstow (r/h top-order batsman)
- England central contract
Kane Williamson (r/h top-order batsman, overseas)
- 2nd player selected (125k)
Colin Ingram (l/h top-order batsman)
- Local icon player (100k)
Laurie Evans (r/h top-order batsman)
- 6th player selected (60k)
Colin Ackerman (r/h batsman, r/a off-spin)
- 11th player selected (30k)
Samit Patel (r/h batsman, l/a spin)
- 5th player selected (60k)
Liam Plunkett (r/a fast bowler, r/h batsman)
- 4th player selected (£75k)
Matt Critchley (r/a leg-spin)
- 8th player selected (50k)
Kagiso Rabada (r/a fast bowler, overseas)
- 1st player selected (£125k)
Shaheen Afridi (l/a fast bowler, overseas)
- 3rd player selected (£75k)
How The Hundred works
- Begins summer 2020. Eight teams across seven cities
- Each side bats for up to 100 balls
- Bowling changes ends after every 10 balls
- Bowlers will deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls but no more than 20 per match
- Each fielding side gets a strategic timeout of up to 150 seconds
- A 25-ball powerplay will start each side's innings, with only two fielders allowed outside the initial 30-yard circle
Welsh Fire bench
Joe Clarke (r/h batsman)
- 7th player selected (50k)
Ben Cox (wicketkeeper, r/h batsman)
- 9th player selected (40k)
Henry Brookes (r/a fast-medium)
- 10th player selected (40k)
Will Beer (r/a leg-spin)
- 12th player selected (30k)
'The Hundred Draft - Live' will be shown on Sky Sports Cricket, Main Event & Sky One from 7pm on Sunday.
It will also be available via Sky Sports' Facebook and YouTube channels, as well as live on the Sky Sports app and streamed on skysports.com.