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Shane Warne weighing up Mitchell Marsh as first pick in the Hundred draft

London Spirit coach expects full Maxwell availability despite clash with Zimbabwe's Australia tour

Mitchell Marsh runs towards Adam Zampa and Marcus Stoinis to celebrate the win, Australia vs New Zealand, T20 World Cup final, Dubai, November 14, 2021

Mitchell Marsh was Australia's top-scorer in the T20 World Cup final  •  ICC via Getty Images

Shane Warne is considering signing Mitchell Marsh with the first pick of the men's Hundred draft next month and expects Glenn Maxwell to be available for the whole competition despite a likely clash with Australia's white-ball series against Zimbabwe.
Warne is men's head coach at London Spirit, whose last-placed finish in the Hundred's inaugural season last year means that they have the first pick in the draft for the 2022 season. The draft, which will not be televised live, takes place on March 30, with the competition running from August 3 to September 3.
Spirit will sign six players in the draft, including two at the highest salary band of £125,000 after convincing Maxwell and captain Eoin Morgan to move down the pay scale and sign £100,000 retentions, and Warne suggested on Tuesday that Marsh - who was player of the match as Australia won the T20 World Cup final in November - could be his first pick.
"We've got two £125k picks available," Warne said on Sky's The Cricket Show. "Glenn Maxwell accepted £100k to allow us to have that first pick at £125k and Eoin Morgan came down to £100k, so that frees us up to have the first and last picks at £125k, plus we've got two picks at £75k and two picks at £50k.
"The hardest thing at the moment is the internationals and the Future Tours Programme (FTP), looking at who's available and who's not. For Australia, for instance, I've spoken to the selectors. Australia play Zimbabwe in some white-ball cricket and I think it starts on August 28 at this stage.
"Will Australia play the full team? Do they want guys like Cameron Green and Mitch Marsh to experience English conditions, given there's an Ashes series next year. I know a lot of Australian players are super excited to play in the Hundred. I know Mitch Marsh wants to so he's someone we'd definitely consider as first pick - Mitch Marsh, I think, is probably the hottest player in white-ball cricket at the moment."
Warne added that uncertainty over the FTP has made it difficult for teams to plan, and that he expects a "really difficult draft" because of the lack of clarity. "We just need to know what the international schedule is," he said. "You don't want to pick a player who's going to play four or five games and then miss the back end because you might be there or thereabouts and then suddenly have to find a different mix and bring in another international.
"Andre Russell's been released [by Southern Brave] but whether he's available for the West Indies and he's going to play the CPL is another discussion. Last year, I was disappointed not to have Maxwell. He's probably one of the first picked in any T20 side, so to have him available for the whole tournament is going to be really exciting.
"I've got scribbled out about eight names for first pick. There's an additional overseas [player per squad] this year so you've got the four overseas, you've got the wildcard pick, you've got retention, plus a right-to-match [card]. It's a bit like Sudoku, working out if all the pieces are going to come together."
Warne has retained 10 players in total, including Zak Crawley and Mark Wood as centrally-contracted Test players, though thinks Crawley will only be available for "probably two or three games" and expects Wood to be "wrapped in cotton wool" ahead of England's Test series against South Africa which starts midway through the tournament.
They released a number of players including Mohammad Nabi, Joe Denly, Roelof van der Merwe and Chris Wood, and Warne - who was self-isolating with Covid-19 for most of last year's tournament - said that he expected his side to be much more competitive in 2022, admitting that he was "lucky to get another go" as head coach after last year's wooden spoon.
"When you look at our batting last year, we went with experience because we missed out on a lot of the younger players and we got ourselves in some terrific positions. Against the Southern Brave at Lord's, we were 0 for 75 [68] off 25 balls and we lost by eight [four] runs chasing 140-odd. That just shouldn't happen.
"We were really poor. We were terrible. It was disappointing from my point of view: I wanted to dip my toe in the water into coaching. It was fantastic to work with Eoin Morgan and to have that opportunity to see how he thinks about the game but I got Covid, so I missed five or six of the games.
"I'd like to think I was always a little bit ahead of the game, tactics and thinking-wise, but we couldn't quite execute some of those things last year. This year, we've done a bit of a clean-out. We lost four games off the last ball or by a couple of runs… but the bottom line is we won one game. We came last, so I'm pretty annoyed about that."