Propositioned, promoted and then postponed –– the ECB’s new flagship competition has been a precarious matter to navigate in the age of pandemic associated uncertainty.
Having been scheduled to commence last summer, the inaugural season of The Hundred was forced to be pushed back until this year, with the amended launch date met with revile, apprehension and excitement in equal measure.
Now though, a fixed date is in place. A standalone women’s match between the Manchester Originals and the Oval Invincibles will be the opening game of the new franchise on July 21st.
The women’s squads will not be finalised until June, but have begun to take shape. Some of the world’s most recognisable names have already been recruited.
Here are the top five overseas players to have been signed so far:
Ellyse Perry (Birmingham Phoenix)
In simple terms, Ellyse Perry is unequivocally the best women’s cricket player of all time.
The 30-year-old has won five T20 world cups with Australia, is the reigning T20 and ODI player of the decade, and has over 200 international caps across both formats.
The all-rounder was announced to have joined Birmingham Phoenix today and will play a decisive role with both bat and ball.
As the first player to reach the landmark of 1,000 runs and 100 wickets in T20s, the Phoenix have landed the most feared, the most respected and the most valuable player in the game today.
Sophie Devine (Birmingham Phoenix)
If the addition of Perry wasn’t already enough, the Phoenix will be led by New Zealand T20 captain Sophie Devine for this year's tournament.
Devine has scored almost 2,500 runs in international T20s and boasts almost 100 wickets as well.
The 31-year-old is also the ICC’s top-ranked all-rounder in the world at the moment, two places ahead of Perry who has suffered from injuries in recent times.
With regular England internationals such as Amy Jones and Georgia Elwiss also a part of this Birmingham side, the Phoenix look to be the team to beat in this year’s competition.
Amelia Kerr (Southern Brave)
Still only 20 years old, Amelia Kerr has already enjoyed a remarkable international career so far.
Having made her professional debut over half a decade ago, Kerr has a handful of extraordinary records to her name, including being the youngest player to ever score a double-century at international level, aged just 17.
Added to that, Kerr also claimed five wickets in the same match, exemplifying her talent across all facets of the game.
The New Zealand born youngster is currently ranked seventh in the ICC T20 bowling rankings and has signed for a Brave side which also features the likes of Anya Shrubsole and Danni Wyatt.
Beth Mooney (Welsh Fire)
In truth, there could’ve been any number of Australians on this list, especially given their unrivalled dominance on the international stage, but Mooney is a particular standout.
The number one ranked T20 batter in the ICC rankings, Mooney was also voted Player of the Tournament at last year’s T20 World Cup.
The opener will join a Welsh Fire side that has recruited several other world-class Aussies, including their captain, Meg Lanning, and seam bowler Jess Jonassen.
The rest of the squad appears light at this stage, but all teams still have until June to add to their current contingent.
Dane Van Niekerk (Oval Invincibles)
Because of the plethora of exceptionally gifted limited-overs all-rounders, Dane Van Niekerk is often under-appreciated on the world stage.
Captain of South Africa across all three formats, the 27-year-old’s stats are decidedly impressive, with over 4000 international runs and almost 200 wickets.
Van Niekerk made her debut for the Proteas back in 2009, so has over 12 years of experience to pass on to the Oval Invincibles.
Though she may not have the consistency of Devine or the genius of Perry, Van Niekerk does still have the star quality to be a match-winner on her day.News Now - Sport News