Birmingham Phoenix’s squads have been particularly hard hit with the loss of some big-name overseas talent on the eve of the tournament but, with Moeen Ali, Liam Livingstone, Amy Jones and Shafali Verma in their ranks, fireworks can still be expected at Edgbaston this summer
Meet the captains! Moeen Ali and Amy Jones will skipper Birmingham Phoenix in the inaugural edition of The Hundred
Liam Livingstone has just hit the record-fastest hundred for England across all formats, while 17-year-old Indian superstar Shafali Verma has been lighting it up and teeing off at the top of the order all summer; there’s set to be plenty of entertainment on offer at Edgbaston…
Women’s squad (overseas players in bold)
Emily Arlott, Thea Brookes, Erin Burns (Australia), Gwen Davies, Georgia Elwiss, Ria Fackrell, Phoebe Franklin, Kirstie Gordon, Amy Jones (captain), Evelyn Jones, Marie Kelly, Katie Mack (Australia), Abtaha Maqsood, Shafali Verma (India), Isabelle Wong
Men’s squad (overseas players in bold)
Tom Abell, Moeen Ali (captain), Finn Allen (New Zealand), Daniel Bell-Drummond, Pat Brown, Chris Cooke, Miles Hammond, Tom Helm, Adam Hose, Benny Howell, Liam Livingstone, Adam Milne (New Zealand), Dillon Pennington, Dom Sibley, Will Smeed, Imran Tahir (South Africa), Chris Woakes
Coaches: Daniel Vettori takes over the reins as coach of the men’s team in place of original appointment Andrew McDonald, who had to pull out because of issues caused by Covid-19. It will be somewhat familiar surroundings for the ex-New Zealand spinner, who had a spell as a player for Warwickshire in 2006, while he will be hoping to pull off what he never quite managed in four years in charge of Royal Challengers Bangalore in the IPL between 2014 and 2018 and win the whole thing. The women’s team will be coached by Australian Ben Slater, who steered the Sydney Sixers to two WBBL titles during his six years in charge from 2015 until taking up a role as the pace-bowling coach of the Australia women’s team in July.
Home ground: Edgbaston
Moeen Ali has been an instrumental cog for the Worcestershire Rapids in the T20 Blast in recent years
Men’s star players: Moeen Ali may well have had a tough couple of years on the international stage, but his talent cannot be disputed – certainly not at domestic level. Moeen played a key role, with the bat, ball and as captain, in steering Worcestershire to back-to-back T20 Finals Days in 2018 and 2019 – winning the former and finishing as runners-up a year later. Pat Brown was another key component of that Rapids side, and the death-bowling specialist was rewarded with four T20 caps for England in late 2019 before a back injury contributed to a dip in form last year – can he rediscover his box of tricks in The Hundred? Meanwhile, Liam Livingstone
Liam Livingstone hammered a 42-ball century for England in the T20 against Pakistan at Trent Bridge
Women’s star players: At just 17 years old, Indian big-hitting opener Shafali Verma is undoubtedly a future superstar of the game – if not already. There’s Amy Jones, who not only skippers the side and adds to the batting depth, but who is arguably the biggest challenger to Welsh Fire’s Sarah Taylor – the very person she replaced in the England side – as the competition’s best keeper. Keep an eye, too, on left-arm spinner Kirstie Gordon, who has impressed when making tentative steps into the England set-up in recent years.
Shafali Verma made history by becoming the first Indian woman to make twin fifties on her Test debut, and the youngest player overall
How far can the men’s team go? It doesn’t leap off the page as the most intimidating team in the tournament, with Phoenix particularly hamstrung by the loss of all three of their initial overseas draft picks in Kane Williamson, Shaheen Afridi and Adam Zampa. That’s not to say it’s a team devoid of talent. Far from it. They could prove to be tournament dark horses, while the vocal support they’ll get from the Edgbaston crowd can only help in creating a bit of a fortress at home.
How far can the women’s team go? They’re perhaps lacking the strength in depth of other sides, while they’ll certainly miss the all-round firepower of Australia’s Ellyse Perry, who was a late dropout from the competition. A lot will rest on the shoulders of young Verma to get them off to fliers at the top of the order, though she has already shown in her fledgling cricket career that she can handle the pressure despite her tender years.
The Hundred starts with a women’s match between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals at The Kia Oval on Wednesday, July 21, with the men’s competition starting a day later at the same venue.
Sky Sports will show all 68 games live – 34 women’s and 34 men’s – while all women’s matches and a significant number of men’s games will be streamed live on the Sky Cricket YouTube channel.