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Pollard, Warner, Rabada among top draft picks for The Hundred

·2-min read
West Indies v South Africa - ICC Champions Trophy 2013 Group B

(Reuters) - Welsh Fire added big-hitting West Indies batsman Kieron Pollard to their squad while Southern Brave signed up Australia opener David Warner for The Hundred, the England and Wales Cricket Board's franchise-based league which begins in July.

The eight men's teams collectively added 35 players from a pool of more than 500 overseas and English cricketers to their rosters following the draft, details of which the ECB released on Tuesday.

All teams now have one wild card pick each to fill their final slots in June.

"I can't wait to come and play in The Hundred, it's an exciting new cricket competition and I'm really pleased to be part of it," number two pick Pollard said in a statement.

"... With Jhye (Richardson) joining as well, I think this Welsh Fire team has got some serious firepower in both bowling and batting line-ups, so I believe we can put on a real show."

West Indies batsman Nicholas Pooran was the men's first pick in the draft and he was joined in the Manchester Originals squad by South African fast bowler Kagiso Rabada.

A further eight English and eight Australian women's players were announced for the women's tournament, including Meg Lanning (Welsh Fire), Sophie Molineux (Trent Rockets) and Alyssa Healy (Northern Superchargers).

The women did not have a draft, with teams set to continue filling their squads over the coming months.

The ECB has invested heavily in The Hundred, a competition it believes will attract younger audiences to the sport. Matches will comprise 100 balls per innings with a change of ends after 10 deliveries.

The launch of the inaugural edition was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The women's competition will mark the start of The Hundred with Oval Invincibles meeting Manchester Originals on July 21, a day before the men's teams face off.

(Reporting by Shrivathsa Sridhar in Bengaluru; Editing by Christian Radnedge)