Australia batsman Steve Smith will captain the Welsh Fire men’s team in the inaugural season of The Hundred this summer.
The former Australia skipper was the Cardiff-based team’s second selection at the competition player draft behind fast bowler Mitchell Starc.
Smith is joined in the Welsh Fire squad by England batsman Jonny Bairstow.
“It’s an honour to be asked to captain Welsh Fire in the first year of The Hundred,” said Smith.
Welsh Fire’s opening fixture is against Oval Invincibles at The Oval on Friday, 17 July.
Smith was captain of Australia until the infamous ball-tampering scandal against South Africa in March 2018 cost him the leadership role.
The Welsh Fire squad also includes England trio Tom Banton, Liam Plunkett and Danny Briggs, ex-West Indies paceman Ravi Rampaul, and short-format spin specialists Qais Ahmad and Simon Harmer.
- Welsh Fire pick Smith and Starc
- Bairstow targets success with Welsh Fire
- The Hundred – full list of squads
- The Hundred – fixtures
“Our squad looks super strong with a great group of players who’ve dominated the international and domestic scenes for the past few years,” said Smith.
“Tom Banton is one of the most exciting young players in the world right now and Mitchell Starc brings the X factor with the ball, so we’re looking to put on an amazing show for the fans in Cardiff.”
Smith also leads Rajasthan Royals in the Indian Premier League.
Welsh Fire men’s head coach Gary Kirsten added: “Steve’s knowledge and experience of leading teams in pressurised situations will definitely help us in this first season of The Hundred.
“He’s got a track record of getting the best out of his players while performing to a very high standard himself, which will be key for us this summer.”
Smith and Starc might not be available for the entire tournament with Welsh Fire preparing to line up replacements if the Australia pair have to leave the competition early.
Batsman Smith and pace bowler Starc were available for the entire Hundred schedule when the draft for overseas stars was held in October 2019,
Since then Australia have moved a one-day series against Zimbabwe from June to August. Smith and Starc are expected to available for at least three Welsh Fire home games in Cardiff.
Veteran West Indies big-hitter Chris Gayle, formerly with Somerset, and Sri Lanka paceman Lasith Malinga are among the high-profile players who were not taken in the initial draft, and could be considered for Welsh Fire duty.
What is The Hundred?
The format is 100 balls per team, most runs wins. The new competition will be played in the school summer holidays in an attempt to attract more families to the game and in trial matches held last year, innings were taking just over one hour to complete.
Eight new teams have been formed, representing seven cities from around the UK, with each having both a men’s and women’s side.
A mini-draft saw the men’s teams select three English players before top overseas players joined the main draft on 20 October, 2019 to fill the remaining places in the 15-man squads.
There will be 32 league matches in total, with the top three finishers competing in the Finals Day (top team automatically reaches the final, with second versus third for the other spot).
Teams will play each other once, apart from their paired ‘rivals’, whom they meet twice (home and away): Northern Superchargers (Leeds) and Manchester Originals, London Spirit and Oval Invincibles, Birmingham Phoenix and Trent Rockets (Nottingham), Southern Brave (Southampton) and Welsh Fire (Cardiff).
Source: Read Full Article