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Tom Lammonby backed for Hundred draft selection after breakthrough county season

Retained Trent Rockets captain Lewis Gregory expects "quite a few teams" to take interest in Somerset team-mate

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
Tom Lammonby lines up a reverse paddle-sweep  •  Getty Images

Tom Lammonby lines up a reverse paddle-sweep  •  Getty Images

Lewis Gregory has backed his Somerset team-mate Tom Lammonby to be signed in the Hundred draft this month following his breakout season in county cricket last summer.
Lammonby, a former England Under-19 captain, struggled in his first season in Somerset's T20 side in 2019 but flourished in the abbreviated 2020 season when he was handed an unexpected opportunity as an opener in the red-ball side.
His three Bob Willis Trophy hundreds - including 116 in the final against Essex and 107 not out against Worcestershire in a must-win group game - impressed those involved in England's pathway selection, while he maintained a strike rate of 177.94 in the T20 Blast, the third-highest in the competition out of batsmen with more than 100 runs.
And Gregory, who has been retained as Trent Rockets' captain on a contract worth £80,000 (plus a captaincy bonus), suggested that his team-mate was likely to attract attention from teams in the Hundred as a potential long-term pick thanks to his value as a finisher in the middle order and his left-arm medium pace.
"I think there will be quite a few teams after him, if I'm honest," Gregory said. "He's a brilliant kid, who works his absolute socks off. To see him contribute in the manner that he did last year - in both red-ball and white-ball cricket - was great.
"He's got a very, very high ceiling and he's going to keep developing and keep growing. He's got a very bright future and it won't be long before we're seeing him in an England shirt, [so] I've no doubt that there will be a few teams interested in him."
Gregory, Somerset's T20 captain, has spent his entire professional career at the club and admitted that he would find it "weird" to miss five weeks of the 2021 county season while playing in the Hundred. Those involved in the new tournament will miss the Royal London One-Day Cup next year, which will instead take on the role of a "development competition" between July and August.
"It will be weird, but you get used to playing in franchise competitions and developing as a team quite quickly," he said. "Naturally I'll see that Somerset are playing games in the 50-over comp and miss being around, but equally [the Hundred] is a new opportunity to go out and play on the global stage.
"That's an exciting prospect for anyone that's going to be involved in the competition. I think it will become the norm and something that we're used to very quickly."
Gregory's Trent Rockets side are one of three teams - alongside London Spirit and Southern Brave - who will make only two picks at the draft, which will take place between the second and third India vs England Tests later this month. They opted to retain the vast majority of the players they signed at the initial draft in October 2019, including their three overseas signings: Rashid Khan, D'Arcy Short and Nathan Coulter-Nile.
Gregory said he has been involved in "a few conversations" regarding the Rockets' strategy but has largely left things to Stephen Fleming and Mick Newell, the side's head coach and general manager respectively. The two players they released were Harry Gurney - who was offered a new deal but opted to enter the draft instead - and Luke Fletcher, and they appear likely to sign two seamers in the draft as a result.
"It was a no-brainer, really," Gregory said of his decision to stay with the Rockets. "Trent Bridge is a place that I've really enjoyed playing cricket, so when the opportunity comes about to call that your home ground, I don't think you have to think about it too much.
"There's a lot of talent around English cricket at the moment and a lot of good county cricketers are going to miss out. There will be a lot of talent that's not playing in the Hundred, which shows that the standard of the competition will be one of the strongest across the world."
Gregory was speaking from his hotel room in Canberra, ahead of Brisbane Heat's fixture against Perth Scorchers on Thursday night, with the winner progressing to the Big Bash final. Having grown used to the competition's new rules this season, he suggested that the Hundred could look to incorporate the Power Surge - with the powerplay split into two blocks - and a bonus-point system in future years.
"I don't think it will be used initially but [the Power Surge] could easily be brought in. I'd be fine with that, as long as I'm not bowling in it. I've [also] enjoyed the Bash Boost point, which brings in a game within a game - you're not just looking at the final target but also the 10-over score. They're nice innovations and it'll be interesting to see how they develop over the next year or so. I can definitely see them being tried and tested around the world.
"I think four [powerplay] overs up front is potentially not long enough in a T20. I think you could either have five up front and one over at the back end, or even a five and a two. But it's created different perspectives on things, and brings a different dynamic. You stay in the game a little bit longer when you're chasing, knowing that there are two overs to capitalise on with only two men out, and you can make a charge a little bit later."

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets at @mroller98