Australia could field weakened side against Zim

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David Warner

David Warner has registered for the Hundred draft after twice pulling out of the first season of the competition and could miss Australia’s ODI series against Zimbabwe to take part.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Warner is the biggest name on the list of overseas players to register before Monday’s deadline, with the draft due to take place on April 4 and teams’ selections confirmed the following day.

Australia are due to play Zimbabwe in a three-match ODI series – which forms part of the qualification process for the 2023 World Cup via the ICC’s Super League – at some stage in late August or early September, with the two boards still in discussions over dates and venues.

It is possible that Cricket Australia (CA) will allow players to play the full season of the Hundred – which runs from August 3 to September 3 – and field a weakened side for that series.

It is also understood that none of Australia’s ‘big three’ fast bowlers – Pat Cummins, Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc – have entered the draft. Starc, whose wife Alyssa Healy has signed for Northern Superchargers for 2022, was picked by Welsh Fire as a £125,000 signing in the initial draft in October 2019 but opted out of the tournament last year and has not put his name forward for 2022.

Warner, who is believed to have set a £125,000 base price for the draft, was due to play for Southern Brave in the inaugural season of the Hundred but withdrew shortly before the competition’s postponement, citing “personal and family reasons”. He was re-signed in last year’s draft but pulled out again due to “current restrictions and playing schedules” and was replaced by Quinton de Kock, who played a key role in Brave’s title win.

Warner was player of the tournament during Australia’s T20 World Cup win in the UAE at the end of 2021 and was signed for Rs. 6.25 crore (£620,000 approx) by Delhi Capitals in last month’s IPL auction. He is due to travel to India for the tournament after Australia’s ongoing Test series against Pakistan.

Several other players who have entered the draft will have their availability limited by international and franchise commitments. The Asia Cup and the Caribbean Premier League are both due to start at the end of August, while several bilateral series are due to be played during the Hundred’s window.

A full list of the players who have registered for the draft is expected to be announced later this week. London Spirit – who finished last in 2021 – will have the first of the 42 men’s picks (17 overseas, 25 domestic) to be made following the retention process, which ended last month. -Cricinfo