With just over two months to go to the start of the inaugural campaign of The hundred, it is believed that several players will withdraw from the tournament due to complicated international travel rules coupled with a busy schedule around the time of the tournament. The tournament begins on July 21, with eight men’s and women’s teams.
Teams like Australia, West Indies and Pakistan will play the T20I series at the time of the tournament. As a result of this schedule, players who have contracts for the men’s competition may even miss part of the entire tournament, as their availability will be limited. Two Australian players, Rachael Haynes and Jess Jonassen, have already withdrawn from the women’s competition due to quarantine requirements.
Cricket West Indies recently released the calendar for the year, beginning with the home series against Australia in early July. The series will run until after the start of the tournament, causing a showdown between the two, with seven of the nine Australians on contracts in the competition named to the 23-man squad. Also, the Australian cricket board is still in talks with the BCB about a possible tour after the West Indies series, which could further fuel the Australians’ unavailability.
On the other hand, West Indies players such as Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran and Sunil Narine are expected to appear in the T20I series against Pakistan, Australia and South Africa, and their series with Pakistan will begin on July 27. three days after the series against Australia concludes. The final T20I match with Pakistan is scheduled to be played in Guyana, which is on the UK’s travel red list, further complicating matters. Subsequently, Pakistan will play two tests with the West Indies after the T20I, confirming that Shaheen Afridi will certainly not be part of the competition.
The ECB still hopes that The hundred will feature the best foreign players, but also practical about the fact that players could retire. An ECB spokesperson for the ECB said: “The realities of Covid mean that there are still practicalities that are difficult for some foreign players to overcome.”