More than half of the overseas players in the inaugural season of the Hundred could require replacements for part of the competition due to availability clashes, after Cricket Australia confirmed that players selected for a rescheduled ODI series against Zimbabwe will be required to leave the tournament early for a training camp.
Ten Australians were picked up in October's draft, including six top-band £125,000 picks: Aaron Finch (Northern Superchargers), Glenn Maxwell (London Spirit), D'Arcy Short (Trent Rockets), Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc (both Welsh Fire), and David Warner (Southern Brave). Australia used their most recent series involving Zimbabwe - a T20I tri-series in 2018 - to try out fringe players, and their selectors could take the view that pulling players out of a short-form competition soon before a T20 World Cup is counter-intuitive.
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But with England, West Indies, South Africa, New Zealand and Pakistan all playing international fixtures during the competition itself, it is likely replacement players will be a regular feature. The situation could have been even worse but for the cancellation of Ireland's planned T20I series against Afghanistan, which was initially expected to clash with the end of tournament and thus rule Rashid Khan, Mohammad Nabi, Mujeeb Ur Rahman and Qais Ahmad out of the final few group games.
While the exact dynamics of the replacement process are unconfirmed, replacement players are initially set to be chosen from the pool of players unsold in the player draft, meaning Chris Gayle, Kieron Pollard and Lasith Malinga could yet appear in the competition.
Domestic players without a Test central contract will also be replaced in the event of international selection. For example, if Ollie Pope is selected for England's series against Pakistan, Southern Brave will be able to sign a replacement non-overseas player for the games that he misses in the second half of the tournament.
That could cause a headache for counties, who could face losing players from their One-Day Cup campaign at the last minute. Each Hundred team will pick one 'wildcard' player immediately after the Vitality Blast group stage to add to their squad, so counties could lose a handful of key players with little notice before the start of the 50-over competition in July.
Australia's three-match series at home to Zimbabwe had initially been scheduled for mid-June, but has now been rescheduled for August. Dates remain unconfirmed, but players will be required to attend a training camp in Brisbane from August 4. While the ECB will hope that Starc, Smith and Warner are not pulled out of their new competition, the fact that the fixtures form part of the new ODI Super League could mean that Australia are unwilling to take them lightly.
Anticipated overseas player availability by team (as of February 12, 2020):
Rashid Khan - available throughout
D'Arcy Short - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Nathan Coulter-Nile - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Andre Russell - will miss at least three group games if named in West Indies T20I squads
David Warner - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Shadab Khan - will miss majority of tournament if named in Pakistan Test squad
Aaron Finch - will miss final two group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Mujeeb Ur Rahman - available throughout
Chris Lynn - will miss final two group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Mitchell Starc - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Steve Smith - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Qais Ahmad - available throughout
Sunil Narine - will miss at least three group games if named in West Indies T20I squads
Sandeep Lamichhane - available throughout
Fabian Allen - will miss at least three group games if named in West Indies T20I squads
Imran Tahir - will miss final group game if named in South Africa T20I squads
Dan Christian - available throughout (last played international cricket in 2017)
Mitchell Santner - will miss first group game if named in New Zealand T20I squad
Glenn Maxwell - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad
Mohammad Nabi - available throughout
Mohammad Amir - available throughout (retired from Test cricket)
Kane Williamson - will miss first two group games if named in New Zealand T20I squad
Shaheen Afridi - will miss majority of tournament if named in Pakistan Test squad
Adam Zampa - will miss final three group games if named in Australia ODI squad