The Hundred draft: Which team pissed its money away on overpriced stars?

The player draft for The Hundred took place on Sunday night. It was broadcast on Sky and streamed live on the BBC website.

What was the situation?

Each of the eight teams had already picked a red-ball contracted player and also a local ‘icon’ (because whatever your thing is, it ain’t shit these days unless you can use the word ‘iconic’ about it in some way or other).

  • Trent Rockets have Joe Root, Alex Hales and Harry Gurney
  • Southern Brave have Jofra Archer, James Vince and Chris Jordan
  • Northern Super Chargers have Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid and David Willey
  • Welsh Fire have Jonny Bairstow, Colin Ingram(?) and Tom Banton
  • Oval Invincibles have Jason Roy and both Sam and Tom Curran
  • Manchester Originals have Jos Buttler, Matt Parkinson and Saqib Mahmood
  • London Spirit have Eoin Morgan, Rory Burns and Dan Lawrence
  • Birmingham Phoenix have Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali and Pat Brown

You’ll notice that we went through the teams in a weird order. That’s because that’s the order in which they made their picks during the draft.

Each team had £960,000 to spend and 1m40s to make each pick. (You could call it 100 seconds if you wanted, but we like to be difficult about these sorts of things.)

Some teams were always going to piss away their money on a handful of star players before desperately plugging the gaps later on; others recognised that overseas stars were ten a penny (239 put their names into the presumably gigantic hat) and invested more cannily.

This website is only really interested in the piss-money-away-on-stars strategy.

How things panned out

There are many ways to analyse how the draft panned out and who might consequently have the best squad.

The method we’ve decided on is to look at how much each team spent on overseas stars because this is quicker and easier and not necessarily a great deal worse than ‘doing the job properly’, which is a thing that we hate to do.

As we said above, there were *plenty* of very good overseas players available for lower prices, whereas there was a much steeper drop off in local talent. Spending all your dough on overseasies would therefore seem to have been a relatively inefficient way to invest.

The maximum any team could have spent on overseas stars was £350,000 because you’re only allowed three of them and there were strict wage brackets. (Quick side point: Everyone had the same budget. It’s striking that The Hundred makes more effort to ensure equality between its sides than county cricket does.)

Trent Rockets, London Spirit and Southern Brave all spent £325,000, but Northern Superchargers went that little bit further and actually maxed out.

At the opposite end of the scale, Manchester Originals spent £235,000 and Birmingham Phoenix spent £200,000, so we’re tipping one of them for victory in the inaugural tournament next year.


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16 Appeals

  1. What if they go all boringly moneyball? Then I suppose “big stars snubbed in draft” is the main story instead?

  2. One of the interesting assertions I saw on Twitter was that having more “big stars” playing cricket in this tournament would in and of itself be better for the sport as it would raise the level of play throughout.

    This interested me, so I thought I would share some observations on this subject:

    1) New Zealand we semi-finalists in 2011, and finalists in 2015 and 2019 without a single “superstar” in their team with the possible exception of Kane Williamson.

    2) In 2011, India won the World Cup at a canter, came to England with a batting lineup of galacticos and promptly forgot how to bat.

    3) In 2015, Australia were much the same only with fewer superstars and then forgot how to bat with more hilarious consequences.

    4) Worcestershire won the 2018 Blast with a team built to make the most of its resources.

    5) Essex did much the same in 2019 to the extent that they felt comfortable not selecting one of England’s greatest ever test batsmen as he was surplus to requirements.

    6) Everyone who jumps up to try and replicate the “success” of the IPL’s franchise model seems not to have noticed that several IPL teams have either disappeared entirely or suffered multi-year suspensions. This is the tournament that every board is obsessed with, and yet every year it is clogged with over-hyped colts, dull matches and off-field scandals.

    I’m not sure, but it would appear that there are several flaws in the “more great players, the better the tournament will be” mentality.

  3. After a brief thought, I’ve decided to adopt Oral Infections as my team. I’ll support them as long as they pick players I don’t hate too much.

    Come on folks, get in the festive spirit! Embrace The Hundred! Feed a starving cricketer! What do you have to lose, after all? (Other than perhaps your sanity?)

  4. Apparently, 600 players have entered the “draft” (surely draught), seeking one of 96 contracts. This is a mistake. It means that even the 96th selection is in the top few.

    Much better would be having 96 players available, so that one of them becomes the last pick. These people are all pro sportsmen. They have NEVER in their lives experienced what all the rest of us have experienced – being the one that nobody wants on their team. They’ve always been first pick, the wankers.

    This was a brilliant opportunity to put these cocky tossers in that position. To be the player that literally none of the eight teams actually wanted. I’d tune in for that.

  5. Oh God, I just don’t care. Sorry. I know it’s cricket and it’s new and we should give it a chance. But I just can’t be bothered. When does the Test tour start?

    • I got a bit confused about which “my team” is. I assumed it would be the Northern Superwotsits because I’m from Lancashire and Lancashire is in the North.

      Then I realised I’m probably supposed to be a Werther’s Original but I’d already spent some time trying to work up/imagine some affinity for the Superwotsits and it seems a bit late to change now.

      Also, how many players are on a team? I assume it to be a HUNDRED because everything else is?

    • ‘Fraid I share Sam’s stance at the moment. I might feel different if it was a sounding board for A Chance to Shine rather than a lucrative deal with KP crisps. What do I know.

  6. Daisy got quite excited about this draft business – to a far greater extent than I might have imagined and a far greater extent than me.

    She swears she’ll even go to at least one London Spirit match too.

    So maybe the marketing wonks are on to something that we so-called cricket aficionados don’t get.

  7. I’m pleased to see that every single Leicestershire player is keeping their powder dry. This’ll surely lead to a promotion to Div 1 next year.

    • …except that precisely zero county championship matches will be played during The Hundred tournament.

      Only the fifty over tournament will be played.

      Remember fifty over cricket? It was England’s priority between the debacle of 2015 and the glorious summer of 2019. Now it is a development tournament, deprioritised within the domestic itinerary. Perhaps that is a good way for the larger counties to bring some of the younger players through…but I don’t think this has been done with development in mind, it has been done to make space for the marketing geniuses new toy, The Hundred.

  8. It reminded me of a cross between Top Gear and a game show. Rob Key did not look cool on a bar stool in his unbuttoned shirt and casual trainers.

  9. Why hold the draft now? Wouldn’t it make more sense to have something in May or thereabouts? At least you’d have an idea of what form the international players are in before you piss your money off on them.

  10. Bit disappointed you’ve had crickets to say about India v SA. Surely you can find a way to talk about how absolute shite SA have been?

    • Know what you mean, Deets, but it’s hard to follow let alone say anything about such a one-sided series.

      Every time I’ve looked at the score I’ve simply thought, “oh, right” and not even had the motivation to turn on the TV.

      I have started following the traditional long-form of the short-form game, T20I, keeping an eye on the qualifying tournament taking place in Arabia. So far mostly one-sided matches and I have yet to identify a noteworthy name or unfeasibly large girth yet. Disappointing, but it is still early days.

      The Nigerians might be a good pick for comedy content. The celebration for the sixth wicket (at about 1’50” in the following vid) and the Nigerian juggled catch on the last ball of the Canada innings were stunning to behold:

      https://www.cricketworldcup.com/video/1462363

      Enjoy.

      • Agreed. I think Test cricket is the best sport in the world and don’t care for T20, and even I found the Qualifier more interesting. From a neutral point of view, there’s simply nothing good about a weaker team playing a stronger team, that also happens to be a much richer team, away, losing every toss (something that still needs to be looked at in my opinion), and getting hammered.

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