With just over two months remaining for the commencement of the inaugural campaign of The Hundred, a number of players are believed to be pulling out of the tournament due to complicated international travel rules along with a busy calendar around the time of the tournament. The tournament begins on July 21, with eight teams for men and women.
Teams like Australia, West Indies, and Pakistan will be playing the T20I series at the time of the tournament. As a result of this schedule, players that have contracts for the men’s competition might even miss some part of the whole tournament, as their availability for will be limited. Two Australian players – Rachael Haynes and Jess Jonassen – have already withdrawn from the women’s competition due to the quarantine requirements.
Recently, Cricket West Indies released the schedule for the year, starting with the home series against Australia at the start of July. The series will stretch till after the beginning of the tournament, which will further cause a clash between the two, with seven of the nine Australians with contracts in the competition named in the 23-man squad. Moreover, the Australian cricket board is still in talks with the BCB regarding a potential tour after the West Indies series, which might further push the unavailability of the Aussies.
On the other hand, West Indies players like Kieron Pollard, Andre Russell, Nicholas Pooran, and Sunil Narine are expected to feature for the T20I series against Pakistan, Australia, and South Africa, with their series with Pakistan set to start on July 27, three days after series against Australia is concluded. The final T20I match with Pakistan is scheduled to be played in Guyana, which is on the UK’s travel red list, further complicating things. Subsequently, Pakistan will play two Tests with West Indies after the T20Is, confirming that Shaheen Afridi will certainly be not a part of the competition.
The ECB is still hopeful that The Hundred will feature the top-notch overseas players, but also practical about the fact that players might withdraw. An ECB spokesperson from ECB said, “The realities of Covid mean there remain practicalities that are difficult for some overseas players to overcome.”