Hundred exodus confirmed, but Big Bash talent signs on

A jam-packed schedule starting in mid-September sees Australia's leading players withdraw, but a crop of exciting talent is taking their place

The withdrawal of all but one of Australia’s leading female players from the inaugural season of The Hundred has been confirmed, with a further nine stars pulling out of the competition.

Of the 11 Australian women who were initially enlisted for the tournament, only Ellyse Perry will head to the United Kingdom later this month, with Australia’s jampacked summer schedule, including a multi-format series against India beginning in mid-September, behind the exodus.

Meg Lanning, Beth Mooney, Georgia Wareham (all Welsh Fire), Sophie Molineux, Elyse Villani, Annabel Sutherland (all Trent Rockets), Ashleigh Gardner (Birmingham Phoenix), Alyssa Healy and Nicola Carey (both Northern Superchargers) have officially withdrawn, while Rachael Haynes had already confirmed she would not be taking her place at Oval Invincibles in May.

Welsh Fire have also confirmed head coach Matthew Mott will not travel over for the competition, replaced by Mark O’Leary this season, although Mott is understood to be committed to the team for 2022 and will remain involved remotely as a consultant this season.

However, the exodus has a significant silver lining for the next tier of Australian talent, with seven of the WBBL’s most exciting players signing on as replacements.

Georgia Redmayne and Piepa Cleary have been enlisted by Welsh Fire, alongside South Africa’s Sune Luus.

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Sammy-Jo Johnson and Heather Graham have joined Trent Rockets, with New Zealand-turned-Tasmania contracted ‘keeper Rachel Priest also signing on.

Erin Burns has replaced her Sydney Sixers teammate Gardner at Birmingham Phoenix, hard-hitting batter Laura Kimmince has signed with Northern Superchargers, joined by South Africa's Laura Wolvaardt, while leg-spinner Amanda-Jade Wellington has replaced New Zealand star Amelia Kerr at Southern Brave.

Speaking to cricket.com.au in May, Australia vice-captain Haynes explained the reality of two weeks of hard quarantine just before a hectic international seasonhad led to her decision to pull out of the competition.

The Hundred will finish on August 21, after which all players would have to complete two weeks of mandatory hotel quarantine ahead of the first ODI against India on September 19.

Further complicating matters is the fact there are no charter flights organised to get players to or from the tournament, and with the Australian Government further slashing the number of international arrivals from mid-July, any delay in returning home could prove extremely costly.

Australia’s multi-format series against India, which includes the first women's Test between the nations in 15 years, will be followed by the seventh edition of the WBBL, the Ashes on home soil in January and February, and the ODI World Cup in New Zealand beginning in March.

Further changes to the men’s competition have also been confirmed, including the withdrawals of Adam Zampa, Nathan Coulter-Nile and Jhye Richardson.

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Glenn Maxwell, David Warner, Aaron Finch and Marcus Stoinis had already withdrawn, as scheduling clashes and the complexities of travelling during the pandemic took their toll.

Australian assistant coach Andrew McDonald has also pulled out, replaced by Daniel Vettori as Birmingham head coach.

D’Arcy Short (Trent Rockets) and Chris Lynn (Northern Superchargers) remain contracted, while Josh Inglis has been drafted to London Spirit in place of Maxwell.

"We know that the ongoing situation with the Covid pandemic and an incredibly busy international schedule has caused significant challenges for a number of international players, but we are delighted with the quality of players who have come in," The Hundred Managing Director Sanjay Patel said.

Australians in The Hundred

Birmingham Phoenix – Ellyse Perry, Erin Burns, Ben Sawyer (women's head coach)

London Spirit – Josh Inglis, Shane Warne (men's head coach)

Manchester Originals – Simon Katich (men's head coach)

Northern Superchargers – Laura Kimmince, Chris Lynn, Darren Lehmann (men's head coach)

Oval Invincibles –Tom Moody (men's head coach)

Southern Brave – Amanda-Jade Wellington

Trent Rockets – Sammy-Jo Johnson, Heather Graham, D’Arcy Short

Welsh Fire – Georgia Redmayne, Piepa Cleary