Chris Gayle was sensationally snubbed as a raft of top international players were overlooked and young homegrown talent promoted in British sport’s first live draft on Sunday night.
The self-proclaimed Universe Boss has ruled global Twenty20 cricket over the past two decades as the only batsman to pass 10,000 runs. He has struck 22 hundreds, a whopping 14 more than any other player, and despite now being in his 40s struck two punishing one-day hundreds against England at the turn of this year.
However, he was one of three players from the Hundred’s top £125,000 price bracket along with Lasith Malinga and Kagiso Rabada to miss out on a gig at one of the eight newly-formed teams.
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Chris Gayle was sensationally snubbed as the Hundred draft took place on Sunday night
Lasith Malinga of Sri Lanka was another player who was overlooked in the draft
Kagiso Rabada was another of those from the top £125,000 price bracket to miss out
Two of the three Australians in the top £125,000 tier Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc will line up alongside England World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow for Welsh Fire while the other David Warner joins Jofra Archer at Southern Brave.
But none were in the first three selections of the evening at the Sky TV studios in Isleworth, as Trent Rockets, with England captain Joe Root their designated Test player, plumped for Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan, the number one ranked T20 bowler, as the opening pick.
West Indies international Andre Russell and Australia one-day captain Aaron Finch were the first choices of Southern Brave and Northern Superchargers, the home of Ben Stokes, respectively.
Heralded short form talents Sunil Narine, Imran Tahir and Glenn Maxwell were also snapped up in the opening round but among the biggest winners of the night were young English cricketers.
Dwayne Bravo of the West Indies was another high-profile omission on Sunday night
New Zealand's Trent Boult wasn't called upon as the squads for the Hundred were chosen
West Indies international Andre Russell was selected for Southern Brave in the Hundred draft
Lancashire’s Liam Livingstone was picked up by Birmingham Phoenix for £125,000, more than double his reserve price of £60,000, while Phil Salt, the uncapped Sussex opening batsman, and Somerset captain Tom Abell were recruited by Joe Buttler’s Manchester Originals for £100,000 apiece having not placed prices on their head.
‘It is fantastic to see because teams are not just thinking about the here and now, they are thinking about building a team and you can see how that has worked successfully in the Indian Premier League or the Big Bash,’ said Buttler.
‘If a young lad smashes Mitchell Starc or Rashid Khan around the ground and wins a game then their name can be thrown up in lights and we will know he can handle the pressure of international cricket.’
Root added: ‘You have to learn to deal with the pressure of having £100,000 on your back walking out to bat - and that’s good.’
In a sign of the changing times of international cricket, four of the 24 overseas picks were from Afghanistan while Nepal international Sandeep Lamichhane was handed a £100,000 contract by Oval Invincibles.
Dwayne Bravo, the only man to have taken more Twenty20 wickets than Malinga, recently-appointed West Indies captain Kieron Pollard and New Zealand left-armer Trent Boult were other high-profile omissions as the the inaugural squads for the ECB’s new brainchild came together on live television.
Ben Stokes will have Australia's Aaron Finch on his team for the Northern Superchargers
Jos Buttler's Manchester Originals recruited Phil Salt and Tom Abell in the draft
Gary Kirsten, head coach of Welsh Fire, speaks to Jonny Bairstow ahead of the draft
Question marks over availability contributed to Bangladesh’s Shakib Al Hasan and South Africa stars Quinton de Kock and Faf du Plessis missing out on places.
England’s Test players will be available for three of the eight round-robin matches plus the final in the first year of the 100-ball tournament next summer.
With Kolpak and British passport-holding cricketers proving popular, a total of 38 of the 120 chosen so far do not qualify for England.
Each team will have one more pick before the tournament starts next July - a £30,000 wildcard selection taken from the top performers in the 2020 Vitality Blast.
Meanwhile, fears that not every one of the 18 first-class counties would be represented in the competition were realised as not a single Leicestershire player was picked.
Eoin Morgan of London Spirit and Kate Cross of Manchester Originals were in attendance