Matthew Wade insists players still keen to take part in The Hundred

By Sports Desk August 04, 2023

Matthew Wade says the draw for players to take part in The Hundred remains strong despite growing competition from new franchises.

The Australia international, who produced a stunning piece of fielding to deny a boundary as London Spirit lost to Oval Invincibles on Thursday, believes the advent of new competitions such as Major League Cricket in the United States can benefit the game at large as well as players and fans.

There have been several high-profile pull-outs across the men’s and women’s tournaments this year, with both Ashes series having recently completed and the men’s World Cup only two months away.

Rashid Khan will no longer be a part of Trent Rockets’ campaign and Heinrich Klaasen will withdraw from the Invincibles at the end of the group stage, whilst Ollie Pope, Olly Stone and Fred Klaassen – representing Welsh Fire, London Spirit and Manchester Originals respectively – have pulled out of the competition completely.

In the women’s tournament, Alyssa Healy and Ellyse Perry have withdrawn from Northern Superchargers and Birmingham Phoenix respectively after playing for Australia during this summer’s Ashes.

Yet Wade, who is playing in The Hundred for the second time after featuring for Phoenix in 2022, says he sees no threat to the competition from the growth of new franchises.

“From internationals’ point of view, every player I speak to wants to get over and play in The Hundred,” the 35-year-old told the PA news agency.

“It’s unfortunate that a couple of guys got pulled out due to workloads. We’re coming into a lot of cricket so that’s more about international cricket and a World Cup coming up, so boards are being a bit more protective of their players.

“I don’t think it’s a reflection on the tournament at all. Every player I speak to is jumping at the chance to come and play in it.”

The inaugural instalment of Major League Cricket culminated on Sunday with victory for MI New York, and with just six teams competing offers players a lighter playing schedule which can have a knock-on benefit over the rest of the summer.

“I wouldn’t say Major League Cricket has changed the landscape,” said Wade. “The new tournament gives greater opportunity for overseas players and I was lucky enough to play in America this year and it’s terrific to see cricket played over there.

“It’s been talked about for a long time. The facilities were a lot better than I’d expected and it’s nice to see it after a lot of talk. But I wouldn’t say it’s changed the landscape.

“There’s been a lot of tournaments over the last few years that have started up, so the franchise game over the last four or five years has certainly changed.

“Most of them run back to back, one tournament finishes and another starts. There’s plenty of international players that are going in drafts and not getting picked up.

“There’s a lot of players that don’t get opportunities to play in The Hundred that are now able to go and play in Sri Lanka or in America.

“I don’t think there’s competition, I think it’s a good thing that we have cricket pretty much 12 months of the year, whether you want to watch tournament cricket or franchise cricket. It’s a good thing for the game.”

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