England all-rounder Moeen Ali has been named the captain of the Birmingham Phoenix men's team for the inaugural edition of 'The Hundred', the tournament's official website confirmed on Tuesday.
Ali, who grew up near Edgbaston, the venue for the Phoenix’ home matches, will lead a side that includes fellow World Cup winner Chris Woakes as well as New Zealand captain Kane Williamson. The 32-year-old player said that it is a great honour and he is looking forward to playing for the side in the tournament.
"It means a lot. Being from Birmingham in a new tournament, a new way of playing the game, I am very excited. I cannot wait," Ali said. He added that the Birmingham Phoenix is a good side in terms of experience and said it will be fun playing alongside a "friend" like Ravi Bopara. "I have some good friends in the side. Someone like Ravi (Bopara) who I played a lot with when I first played for England. It is a great side in terms of experience and there is a lot of youth as well," he said.
Phoenix head coach Andrew McDonald said, “Moeen is a fantastic all-rounder and has the experience and temperament to lead the team.” Moeen is currently taking time out from Test cricket, having made himself unavailable for England’s tour of Sri Lanka next month, with his last appearance in the format coming in the 2019 Ashes opener against Australia.
His Test absence was part of a wider break from all England duty but Ali, who still harbours hopes of playing five-day cricket again, returned for the recent third one-day international in South Africa. Ali was also named player of the match in Durban on Friday after hitting 39 off just 11 balls as England levelled a three-match Twenty20 series with the Proteas that it eventually went on to win 2-1.
The new white-ball cricket is a 100-ball per innings format. In the matches, a change of end will take place after ten balls and bowlers can deliver either five or ten consecutive balls. Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game and each bowling side gets a strategic timeout of up to two and a half minutes.
Moreover, 'The Hundred' tournament will have a 25-ball powerplay start for each team and two fielders will be allowed outside of the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay. These playing conditions have been recommended by ECB's Cricket Committee. The new tournament will consist of eight city-based franchise sides, breaking away from England’s traditional county system.
(With agency inputs) (Image credits: TheHundred)