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The Hundred: Young guns in the draft

by Isaac Gleave 5 minute read

There are plenty of names on the list, but few spots to go around: The Hundred draft is set to take place on Sunday, with all eight sides picking up 12 players.

Each side will be allowed to draft three overseas stars, which leaves nine domestic slots to fill. There are Test stars and plenty of experienced campaigners in the mix, but what about the youngsters? Isaac Gleave picks out five domestic talents under the age of 22 that could be shrewd buys for the city-based franchises.

Domestic list of players | Overseas list of players

Zak Crawley – No reserve price

A breakout season for Kent earned the batsman his first international call-up: the upcoming two-Test series against New Zealand in November. Crawley, standing at 6ft 5in, is an imposing figure for any bowler to face, and recent innings suggest just that. While he’s made his name in four-day cricket, there are clear signs emerging that Crawley has it in him to excel across formats. In Kent’s final T20 Blast group fixture this year, against eventual champions Essex, Crawley smashed 89 runs off just 55 balls. Last winter, he struck 100 not out from 42 balls in a Sydney grade cricket match. There is power in that technique. 

Will Jacks – No reserve price

By the age of 19, Jacks had already made his debut in each of the three domestic competitions for Surrey. He was part of the squad that won the County Championship in 2018, and like Crawley, is a tall, powerful presence at the crease. He averaged just over 20 with the bat in the 2019 Blast, but it’s the strike-rate of 151.96 that really grabs the eye. His part-time off-spin is rather handy, too.

If anyone can attest to Jacks’ immense skill, it is Stephen Parry. In a T10 pre-season match in Dubai earlier this year, Jacks hit a 25-ball ton, with Lancashire left-arm spinner Parry deposited for six sixes in an over. Those long levers can do some serious damage. 

Ollie Pope – No reserve price

Already capped by England and in the Test squad for the upcoming tour of  New Zealand, Ollie Pope is no stranger to the public eye. Despite missing a large chunk of the 2019 season after dislocating his shoulder, Pope hit back by scoring 561 runs in eight innings, with a high score of 221 not out.

His exploits in the longer format are well known but he looks conditioned to succeed regardless of the ball’s colour; an average of 30.20 with a strike-rate of 132.45 in this year’s Blast certainly suggests so. His ability to play shots over the ‘keeper’s head is worth marvelling at. Nevertheless, his availability may be a stumbling block if he establishes himself in England’s Test line-up. 

Hamidullah Qadri – £40,000

Born in Afghanistan, Qadri moved to England at the age of 10 and made his first-class debut for Derbyshire at just 16 years of age, recording bowling figures of 5-60 in the process. Now, two years on, the England U-19 off-spinner has moved to Kent on a three-year deal. 

There’s no denying that picking up Qadri would be an immensely bold call. He has played one T20 in his career and is yet to pick up a wicket in the format. But the words of Iain O’Brien, the former New Zealand bowler who played club cricket with Qadri in Derbyshire, suggest that Qadri could go on to be something special. Speaking to the Guardian in 2017, O’Brien said: “He was 12 years old and bowling offies and doosras. It was brilliant. Then I heard he’d learnt how to bowl by watching [Saeed] Ajmal and [Saqlain] Mushtaq on YouTube.

“I’m not someone who pumps up cricketers easily but this kid is incredible.”

Scott Steel – No reserve price

Durham’s second-highest run-scorer in the Blast this year behind D’Arcy Short, the 20-year-old has had a stellar debut season with his home county. In 11 T20 matches for Durham this year, Steel scored 369 runs at a blistering average of 33.55, whilst recording two half-centuries. The opening batsman does not shy away from having a bowl either. With 16 overs bowled, young Steel went for 99 runs at an economy rate of little over six. That’s hugely impressive for someone making their way into the game

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