Ashes star Steve Smith and Twenty20 legends like Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga are among a high-quality list of players to put their names forward for the inaugural draft for The Hundred.
England’s centrally-contracted Test players will be the first to be allocated when the eight franchises are formally unveiled on Thursday, with the rest of the squads being determined at a live television event on October 20.
And there has been no shortage of interest from around the world. Australia’s master batsman Smith will be joined by compatriots David Warner, Aaron Finch and Mitchell Starc, while the top-ranked batsman and bowler in Twenty20 cricket – Babar Azam and Rashid Khan – have also put their names forward.
Big-name veterans of the white-ball formats are also present and correct, including Shahid Afridi, Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga. Whatever else might be wrong with the new competition – and it’s plenty – the actual cricket is shaping up to be cracking.
Although England’s Test players will have only a limited role in The Hundred, several member of the triumphant World Cup squad should play a full part.
Captain Eoin Morgan heads a group which includes Tom Curran and Liam Plunkett. Jason Roy and Moeen Ali are also up for grabs, suggesting the pair may not be due a Test return any time soon.
South Africans Kagiso Rabada and Faf du Plessis and Quinton De Kock are also available, as is New Zealand captain Kane Williamson.
The Lancastrian was fresh off some standout displays in the 2003 World Cup.
Hales lost his place in last year’s World Cup-winning squad after news of a second failed test for recreational drugs.
The Warwickshire all-rounder is one on 18 bowlers to be selected for personalised practice.
The West Indies are due to arrive on these shores first this summer.
Broad took part in an individual training session at Trent Bridge.
Clare Connor suggested England are considering hosting a Women’s Tri-Series also involving India and South Africa.
The designated bowlers, whose identitites have not been confirmed, will have their temperatures checked.
The ECB had planned to introduce 40 professional contracts this summer across eight regional hubs.
County are waiting on a decision.