London, Mar 24 (IANS): English white-ball specialist Tom Abell and Australian short-format expert Tim David emerged as the top picks in the draft for the 2023 edition of The Hundred, England's domestic limited-balls cricket league.
In the draft held on Thursday night, over 30 male players were picked across eight teams with Welsh Fire roping in Abell while David returned to Southern Brave via their Right-To-Match (RTM) card.
With new coach Michael Hussey taking charge of affairs after a winless 2022 season, Welsh Fire strengthened their squad significantly by securing the services of Pakistan's pace duo Shaheen Shah Afridi and Haris Rauf, as well as England all-rounder David Willey.
Domestic players were much in demand as top overseas stars like Pakistan skipper Babar Azam, West Indies' IPL legend Kieron Pollard and New Zealand's Trent Boult went unsold, in some cases due to concerns over their availability for the full season.
Each team will be able to sign two more players as 'wildcards' after the group stages of the Vitality Blast, as well as any replacement players that are required before the start of the Hundred on August 1. Most of the teams managed to retain the core of their squads by retaining as many as 10-11 players.
Among the sought-after players were Australian stars Mitchell Marsh, fresh off his starring role as an opener in Australia's ODI series win in India, who was drafted by the London Spirit, also at the top price.
Marsh will join fellow Aussies Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Ellis at the Lord's based club after they were both retained ahead of the draft. Perth Scorchers captain Ashton Turner was drafted to the Manchester Originals, returning to the club he represented in the 2022 season.
Fellow Aussie Kane Richardson had been retained by the Birmingham Phoenix while Sydney Thunder allrounder Daniel Sams was retained by the Trent Rockets.