In wake of the coronavirus pandemic across the United Kingdom (UK), the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) recently suspended its entire 2020 domestic and international home season until May 28 at the earliest. Apart from their annual County Championship and England’s international assignments, their home season also included the highly-anticipated inaugural edition of ‘The Hundred’, a 100-ball franchise-based cricket tournament. The Hundred was initially scheduled to be played between July 18 and August 16 among eight franchises each from men’s and women’s teams.
However, recent reports in the UK media suggest that The Hundred is likely to be delayed till 2021 if the coronavirus outbreak continues to enforce UK lockdown and impact English cricket in the process.
Cricketers like Steve Smith, David Warner, Glenn Maxwell and Mitchell Starc were among the 10 Australian players who were scheduled to represent their respective sides in the tournament. However, recent reports indicate that if ECB cancels The Hundred, all participating players are likely to lose the amounts for which they signed up for.
Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc were signed up by Welsh Fire for £125k (₹1.2 crore) each. Meanwhile, Trent Rockets roped in Australian T20 veterans D’Arcy Short for £125k (₹1.2 crore) and Nathan Coulter-Nile for £75,000 (₹72 lakh).
Ben Stokes-led Northern Superchargers acquired Aaron Finch and Chris Lynn as two of their three overseas stars. While Aaron Finch joined the franchise for £125k (₹1.2 crore), hard-hitting Chris Lynn joined for £100k (₹96 lakh). Similarly, swashbuckling opening batsman David Warner joined Southern Brave for £125k (₹1.2 crore).
Among the remaining Australian cricketers, Adam Zampa joined Birmingham Phoenix for £40k (₹38 lakh), Glenn Maxwell joined London Spirit for £125k (₹1.2 crore) and Dan Christian joined Manchester Originals for £60k (₹58 lakh).
The coronavirus pandemic also forced the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) to postpone the Indian Premier League 2020 (IPL 2020) season. As evidenced from the tournament’s history, Australian cricketers have a strong presence in IPL with several of their players being crowd favourites among the Indian audiences. Moreover, cricketers like Steve Smith and David Warner are also the captains of their respective franchises for the now-postponed season and are the only two non-Indian players to lead an IPL side. With an indefinite break imposed on the Indian T20 event, fans of Australian cricket will have to wait a while to see their favourite stars dazzling in India.