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The Hundred: which 'local icons' should each team pick?

Adil Rashid and Moeen Ali are among the England white-ball stars who could be snapped up in the 'local icon' draft Getty Images

On Thursday morning, the identities of each new team for The Hundred will be announced, along with their first handful of players. Each team will pick one Test player and up to two 'local icons', who spent the 2019 season with a county in their 'catchment area'. If the selection process for these picks is not obvious, fear not: we've got your back with this explainer; if you've got it nailed down, here are our picks as to whom each team should recruit…

Ageas Bowl

Catchment area counties: Hampshire, Sussex
Likely Test player: Jofra Archer

There are plenty of sensible options available to the Southampton-based team, including Mason Crane, Liam Dawson and Tymal Mills, but their best option is to recruit a ready-made opening partnership.

James Vince and Phil Salt are both off to the Big Bash this winter to further their franchise T20 experience, and should complement each other very well. In T20 since January 1, 2017, Salt has been immense against pace (SR 169), while Vince cruises against spin (SR 145, av. 48.2).

Most importantly in a competition with an abbreviated format, neither wastes time getting going: Vince's strike-rate after five balls of an innings in the 2019 Blast was 122.22, while Salt's was 142.85.

Cardiff

Catchment area counties: Glamorgan, Gloucestershire, Somerset
Likely Test player: Jonny Bairstow/Rory Burns/Joe Root

The Cardiff team would be foolish not to lock Tom Banton down after his stunning breakthrough season, and will hope that he opens the batting for several years to come.

It is understood that Glamorgan's Colin Ingram is likely to be the team's second local icon, and he could well end up captaining the side. Ingram has been a prolific run-scorer in domestic T20 over the past few years, but has showed some signs of decline in the past six months, with a relatively lean run across the IPL, the Blast and the CPL.

Instead, it might have made more sense to pick Somerset's Lewis Gregory. He is one of the few specialist finishers in the English game, and has a strike rate of over 200 at the death against pace in the past three years. There is evidence that he is relatively weak against spin, but the sample size is small, and teams continue to see it as a risk to hold back spinners until the final few overs.

If Gregory isn't snapped up at this stage, expect him to be an early pick in the main draft.

Edgbaston

Catchment area counties: Warwickshire, Worcestershire
Likely Test player: Chris Woakes

Adam Hose and Ed Pollock will prove shrewd signings in the main draft, but in the local icon draft the Edgbaston team would be remiss not to pick up the best player available in Moeen Ali.

T20 analysts regularly highlight players who can bowl four overs of spin and bat in the top order as the most valuable, and Moeen fits that profile perfectly. His strike-rate of over 165 against both pace and spin means he has no obvious weakness, and he would be an ideal captain and posterboy for the new team.

For their second pick, the Birmingham side should plump for Pat Brown, a death-specialist who could be relied upon to bowl the final ten balls of an innings. No-one comes close to Brown in the wickets charts at the death in the Blast over the last two years, and his (knuckle)balls of steel have earned him a place in England's T20I squad for the New Zealand tour.

Headingley

Catchment area counties: Durham, Yorkshire
Likely Test player: Ben Stokes

Again, there are two obvious picks for the Leeds-based team, and there should be few dilemmas. David Willey is an obvious pick given his prowess with the new ball - he could bowl 15 balls in the 25-ball powerplay - and can give it a whack with the bat too, while Adil Rashid will be one of the best legspinners in the competition regardless who ends up entering the draft.

Tom Kohler-Cadmore or Scott Steel might be attractive alternatives if a low salary band cannot be negotiated, but Darren Lehmann shouldn't be kept up at night thinking about this stage of the draft.

Lord's

Catchment area counties: Essex, Middlesex, Northants
Likely Test player: Jonny Bairstow/Rory Burns/Joe Root

Eoin Morgan is a likely pick despite his slightly underwhelming recent T20 record, not least because of his nous as a captain and the fact his face will be plastered all over North London for marketing and branding, but the team's second selection is less clear.

There are no realistic options from Northants - though Josh Cobb could be an interesting main draft selection - and both Essex and Middlesex were expensive with the ball throughout 2019, but there are three batsmen with three relatively different profiles who must be considered.

Dawid Malan is an impressive player, but he is pedestrian at the start of an innings (powerplay SR 122 since 2017) and might eat up too many balls at the top of the order given the fielding restrictions are lifted so soon (after 25 percent of the innings, rather than 30 percent in T20). Ravi Bopara starred under pressure in the second half of the Blast, but similarly takes ten balls to bed in, and has a more obvious weakness, as a slow-scorer against spin.

That opens up Dan Lawrence as an option, who would likely be cheaper than the other two. Lawrence is exceptional against spin (SR 154, av. 36.3 since 2017) and useful against pace (SR 148, av. 26.35), and bowls useful offspin to boot; he is the perfect man to keep things moving in the middle overs.

Old Trafford

Catchment area counties: Lancashire
Likely Test player: Jos Buttler

The two obvious picks from the Lancashire squad are Liam Livingstone and Matt Parkinson, and it is hard to see them being overlooked. Livingstone had an underwhelming 2019 Blast but is a bully against pace and can tick over against spin, while Parkinson has been the most prolific spinner in domestic white-ball cricket over the last three seasons.

Richard Gleeson and Saqib Mahmood are slightly less expensive alternatives, but the Old Trafford team has a fairly simple set of decisions to make.

The Oval

Catchment area counties: Kent, Surrey
Likely Test player: Sam Curran

With arguably the best pool of stars to pick from, the South London team's choices will depend as much on which player offers themselves up at the most competitive price as anything else.

Jason Roy is probably a lock, given his T20 pedigree, leaving a shoot-out between Sam Billings, Tom Curran and Joe Denly for the final spot.

All three have such different profiles that it is hard to compare them, but death bowlers should prove to be sufficiently valuable that it is worth locking Curran down before the main draft.

Trent Bridge

Catchment area counties: Derbyshire, Leicestershire, Nottinghamshire
Likely Test player: Jonny Bairstow/Rory Burns/Joe Root

With the exception of Wayne Madsen, it is hard to think of a player from either Derbyshire or Leicestershire's squads who would get close to a first-choice Notts XI, and there are two clear stars that Stephen Fleming should swoop for.

Alex Hales is among the best English batsmen against pace in all T20, and hammers spin at Trent Bridge with a strike-rate above 200 against slow bowlers there since 2017. If he is weaker against it on bigger playing surfaces, he is still worth picking up at this stage.

Harry Gurney, meanwhile, has become one of the most sought-after death bowlers of the T20 circuit over the past few years, and is another man who could feasibly bowl the final ten balls of an innings. He is increasingly impressive in the middle overs too, especially on slower wickets, as demonstrated in this year's IPL for KKR.