England’s latest ambition, The Hundred tournament just cannot seem to stop the withdrawals of foreign players ahead of its inaugural edition. New Zealand captain Kane Williamson and Pakistan’s fast bowling sensation Shaheen Afridi are the latest overseas players to opt-out of the tournament.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) brainchild, the 100-ball tournament was supposed to begin in 2020, but the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the tournament to 2021, but with the packed international calendar has led to many overseas players opting out of the tournament with just months to begin.
Kane Williamson Opts Out Due To Elbow Problem; Shaheen Afridi Picks Pakistan Duty Over The Hundred
Kane Williamson had recently led New Zealand to the historic ICC World Test Championship victory, beating India in the final at Southampton. However, he had to withdraw from his contract with the Edgbaston-based Birmingham Phoenix due to his recurring elbow problem. Williamson is currently in the United Kingdom and might mentor the Phoenix in the tournament. The Phoenix has named another Kiwi in Fin Allen – currently representing Lancashire in the T20 Blast – as a replacement.
On the other hand, Shaheen Afridi has decided to put national duty first as Pakistan is touring West Indies for limited-overs series. Apart from Shaheen, the tournament will also most likely miss the services of the Australian duo of Aaron Finch and Adam Zampa, who have been named in the squad for the dual tour of the West Indies and Bangladesh.
Big Name Players Opt Out Of The Hundred
Not only Finch, Zampa, Shaheen, and Williamson have pulled out of the Hundred tournament, but other Australians in David Warner, Marcus Stoinis, and Glenn Maxwell have also opted out of the tournament. Nathan Coulter and Kane Richardson have also opted out given the mandatory 14-day quarantine need to be ensured before they embark on the tours to the Caribbean and Bangladesh.
The Southern Brave have named Quinton de Kock and Glenn Phillips as replacements for Warner and Stoinis respectively, while London Spirit has roped in Josh Inglis to fill in for Maxwell. Lungi Ngidi is slated to join Welsh Fire as a replacement for Jhye Richardson.