ECB considering complete re-draft of players if the inaugural Hundred tournament is postponed by 12 months
- Ongoing coronavirus pandemic means first ever Hundred is likely to be put back
- If tournament isn’t played until 2021, ECB are considering a complete re-draft
- Big changes are being made to status of Kolpak cricketers and overseas stars
- If original draft is kept, 14 Kolpak cricketers selected last October are ineligible
The ECB are considering a re-draft of players if they postpone the Hundred for 12 months – due to changes in status of Kolpak cricketers and the availability of overseas stars.
With a delay of the inaugural competition now increasingly likely – after Sportsmail revealed broadcasters Sky Sports have given their blessing to such an eventuality – retaining the original draft for a 2021 start has thrown up qualification issues.
Pushing it back a year and maintaining the current qualification criteria would make the 14 Kolpak cricketers selected last October ineligible to feature as ‘local’ players due to the Brexit changes scheduled to come into force in English cricket on December 31.
The entire draft for the inaugural Hundred competition may have to be re-done for 2021
Jonny Bairstow signed with Welsh Fire but plenty of changes are set to take place before 2021
Therefore, one of the options the operations team for the new 100-ball-a-side tournament have considered is retaining the 120-strong player list and allowing one extra overseas place per squad.
This would equate to four spots rather than three, falling into line with proposed increases in overseas players in the County Championship and Twenty20 Blast to two and three respectively.
However, this is complicated by the fact that, in addition to three overseas players, Welsh Fire have four Kolpaks in Colin Ingram, Ravi Rampaul, Simon Harmer and Leus du Plooy. One would be absorbed under that proposal but the other three would no longer qualify to play and would need to make way for others from the Hundred’s replacement roster.
Although the Fire are an extreme case, of the eight teams only Trent Rockets and Southern Brave are not affected by the Kolpak issue.
Colin Ingram, pictured playing for Islamabad United, is one player affected by Kolpak changes
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison said cricket faces the ‘biggest challenge in its history’
Overseas player availability also looks much better for 2021 than it did this July-August when South Africa and New Zealand are due to have engagements although with mass re-scheduling of international series in the ICC’s future tours programme anticipated whenever cricket returns to normal that is subject to change.
The ECB have weighed this up in their deliberations as to whether to re-draft from scratch or honour the majority of the £30,000-£125,000 contracts currently in place.
Those working on models for 2021 will continue dialogue with the Professional Cricketers’ Association, the 18 first-class counties and the home office but admit ‘there is no perfect solution’.
A decision on whether to postpone a tournament that is the cornerstone of the ECB’s five-year, £1.1billion TV deal is expected by the end of April.
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