India Women players could be involved in the Hundred after Australian ‘vote of confidence’

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ECB ‘hopeful’ about Indian involvement but awaiting BCCI approval

Ten Australia Women internationals have confirmed their availability for the inaugural season of the Hundred, with the ECB “hopeful” that they will be joined in the competition by a handful of India players.

Nineteen of the 24 overseas slots in the women’s Hundred have now been filled, after eight new players were announced on Tuesday: Alyssa Healy, Nicola Carey (Northern Superchargers), Beth Mooney, Meg Lanning, Jess Jonassen (Welsh Fire), Sophie Molineux, Annabel Sutherland (Trent Rockets), and Rachael Haynes (Oval Invincibles).

Eleven Australia, New Zealand, West Indies and South Africa players had previously been confirmed: Elyse Villani (Trent Rockets), Sophie Devine, Ashleigh Gardner (Birmingham Phoenix), Deandra Dottin, Chloe Tryon (London Spirit), Mignon du Preez, Lizelle Lee (Manchester Originals), Dane van Niekerk, Marizanne Kapp (Oval Invincibles), Amelia Kerr and Stafanie Taylor (Southern Brave).

While recruitment for the men’s Hundred involved a retention stage and a player draft, the women’s competition is running on an open-market system, with players and teams allowed to negotiate contracts directly.

The ECB remain optimistic that some Indian players will be involved in the competition. While the BCCI does not grant No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) for active men’s players to appear in overseas leagues, India’s leading female players have previously appeared in the Kia Super League (KSL) – which has now been discontinued to make way for the Hundred – and the Women’s Big Bash League.

ESPNcricinfo understands that Indian players are keen to be involved in the competition, but that they are waiting on approval from the BCCI. Four India internationals – Harmanpreet Kaur, Smriti Mandhana, Jemimah Rodrigues and Deepti Sharma – were involved in the KSL between 2017 and 2019.

“We’re in conversations with the BCCI,” Beth Barrett-Wild, the head of the women’s Hundred, told ESPNcricinfo. “We’re hopeful that we’ll have some of the Indian women’s players playing in the Hundred this summer. We’ve had some very positive conversations with them. Our relationship with the BCCI is important and I’m hopeful that we’ll get those deals over the line.”

Barrett-Wild said that the competition’s organisers saw the involvement of several leading Australian players as “a big vote of confidence”.

“Obviously there’s a level of uncertainty with the Covid situation, but we’ve got a brilliant team hooked into government who are making sure we’re on top of what’s happening,” she said. “It’s really difficult to know where we’ll be in July but those overseas players have all signed their contracts, so fingers crossed they will be over here in the summer.

“It shows that these players want to play in the Hundred and see it as a big opportunity, both from a playing perspective and in terms of their personal visibility. We talk about world-class quality and the Hundred being a world-class competition, and I can categorically say that we’ve got the best players in the world coming.”

Teams have also confirmed the signings of several English players. Deals for Sophie Ecclestone (Manchester Originals), Bryony Smith (Welsh Fire), Alice Davidson-Richards (Northern Superchargers), Sarah Glenn (Trent Rockets), Sophia Dunkley (Southern Brave), Mady Villiers (Oval Invincibles), Georgia Elwiss (Birmingham Phoenix) and Tammy Beaumont (London Spirit) were all announced on Tuesday.

Additional reporting by Annesha Ghosh

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