West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell and off-spinner Sunil Narine snatched top price at Sunday’s draft for next July’s inaugural The Hundred but veteran T20 star Chris Gayle missed out after being snubbed by the eight franchises.
Russell was snapped up by Southern Brave and Narine by the Oval Invincibles – both for 125 000 pounds sterling – as franchises spent several hours filling 12 spots on their 15-man squads.
However, Gayle went unbought during the event to be one of the notable omissions along with fellow West Indies star Dwayne Bravo and Sri Lankan icon Lasith Malinga.
The left-handed Gayle has been the most successful batsman in the shortest format with 13 051 runs – the only player to pass 10 000 runs in the format. However, the former West Indies captain is in the twilight of his career, having turned 40 last month.
Regardless, the tournament will still retain a Caribbean flavour with Windies limited overs all-rounder, Fabian Allen; former Test fast bowler Ravi Rampaul, Barbados-born England star, Chris Jordan, and Bermudian Delray Rawlins all set to feature.
Russell’s acquisition by Southern Brave will see him link up with England’s Barbadian fast-bowling sensation, Jofra Archer, who was earlier this month unveiled as the franchise’s marquee signing.
Australia batsman David Warner was also picked up for 125 000 pounds sterling with Jordan, designated a local icon, and left-hander Rawlins – both of whom play for English county Sussex – also turning out for Brave.
‘They are two really good picks,” Archer said of Warner and Russell.
“It’s going to be very good to play with Andre. I watched a lot of him growing up so I’m just happy I get to play with him. Let’s hope I can learn some things off him and the rest of the players.”
He added: “I’m very, very happy with the team. Very good to see my boy Del (Delray) is going to play with me at home.”
Russell, one of the most in-demand T20 players across the globe, said he was looking forward to the new experience.
“I was nervous the first time being in the draft of this new competition,” said Russell.
“The competition’s got a lot to offer. The game has been evolving for the last couple of years so with 100 balls, it’s definitely see ball, hit ball.”
Narine will be part of an Invincibles squad which will welcome the talents of Allen, who featured for West Indies during the recent World Cup in England, and who was secured for 50 000 pounds.
Invincibles also boast the likes of exciting Nepal leg-spinner, Sandeep Lamichhane, who turned out for champions Barbados Tridents in the just-concluded Caribbean Premier League.
Rampaul will, meanwhile, campaign for Welsh Fire alongside Australia batting star Steve Smith, after being secured for 75 000 pounds.
The 35-year-old Rampaul has not played international cricket in four years and currently plays for English county Derbyshire for whom he snared 44 wickets from 12 matches in the recent County Championship.
Trent Rockets, Northern Superchargers, Manchester Originals and London Spirit and Birmingham Phoenix complete the lineup of franchises.