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Leading Australians opt for rest as the Hundred feels the WPL's squeeze

Lanning, Gardner, McGrath could miss 2023 edition amid Australia's packed schedule

Matt Roller
Matt Roller
McGrath and Lanning are expected to skip the Hundred in 2023  •  CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

McGrath and Lanning are expected to skip the Hundred in 2023  •  CA/Cricket Australia/Getty Images

Meg Lanning, Ashleigh Gardner and Tahlia McGrath are among the Australian players set to skip the third season of the women's Hundred in order to manage their workloads during a busy 2023.
The trio was among the 14 Australian women signed in the inaugural WPL auction on Monday. The tournament due to take place immediately after the ongoing T20 World Cup, adding to a hectic 2023 schedule for Australia's top players.
Australia tour England for the multi-format Ashes series in June-July and will play three Women's Championship ODIs against Ireland in late July. The Hundred runs from August 1-27, with Australia's home international summer due to start against West Indies in September. They then play the WBBL before a multi-format tour to India.
As a result, several leading players will opt out of the Hundred, instead using August as a rare opportunity for a short break from cricket amid an increasingly busy domestic and international schedule in the women's game.

Hundred salaries frozen for 2023

Salaries are significantly higher in the WPL than in the women's Hundred: the 14 Australians will earn a combined INR 14.25 crore (£1.4 million approx.) in the WPL, while the top salary in the women's Hundred is £31,250.
While Lanning, Gardner and McGrath are all believed to have made themselves unavailable before Monday's auction, it had been apparent for some time that the WPL would be significantly more attractive financially than the Hundred.
The ECB froze 2023 Hundred salaries at last season's levels in both the men's and women's competitions, but the absence of some of the world's best players may prompt a re-think ahead of the 2024 edition.
McGrath played for Southern Brave in 2022, while Lanning was due to play for Trent Rockets but withdrew, instead taking a break from the game. Gardner has briefly held contracts with Welsh Fire and Birmingham Phoenix, but has never appeared in the competition.

Pre-draft retentions confirmed this week

Teams in the Hundred will release their lists of retained players later this week ahead of the inaugural women's draft on March 23, following several weeks of discussions with players and their representatives.
Each team was permitted to retain up to four women's players from their 2022 squad. Those four players can include a maximum of three 'marquee' players - comprising either two England-contracted players and one overseas player, or two overseas players and one England-contracted player.
Some Australia players will feature in the retention lists, with Alyssa Healy (Northern Superchargers), Alana King (Trent Rockets) and Ellyse Perry (Birmingham Phoenix) all expected to renew their existing deals.
Beth Mooney is also expected to be part of the Hundred in 2023, though most likely not for London Spirit. It is understood Spirit have retained Charlie Dean, Heather Knight (both England-contracted), Dani Gibson (domestic) and Amelia Kerr (overseas).
Other players expected to feature in the draft include Sophia Dunkley and Danni Wyatt, with Brave understood to have prioritised youth by retaining Lauren Bell and Freya Kemp as their England-contracted players. All teams have one Right-To-Match (RTM) card available, which Brave could use to keep hold of one of their England openers.
Kate Cross, Sarah Glenn and Mady Villiers could also feature on the long-list of players heading into the draft.
After the draft, all women's teams will have a core of eight players. They will then be able to fill their remaining spots through an open-market process.
The draft has been introduced in part to ensure that the women's Hundred retains its competitive balance, after Oval Invincibles and Southern Brave's dominance of the first two seasons.

Jon Lewis becomes Trent Rockets coach

Meanwhile, Salliann Beams will not return to the Hundred in 2023 after two seasons as Trent Rockets coach. She has stepped down from the role, with former Durham batter Jon Lewis confirmed as her replacement after missing out on the England job to his namesake.
"The opportunity to step up as head coach is a huge honour, building on the foundations that have been laid over the past two years," Lewis said. "The competition is hugely exciting because it is giving the women's game a brilliant platform and players a bigger stage on which to showcase their skills."
Lewis was part of Rockets' support staff last season, when they finished third after losing a tight eliminator to Southern Brave at the Ageas Bowl.

Matt Roller is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @mroller98