Last Updated: 26/02/20 6:07am
Australia batsman Steve Smith has been selected to captain the Welsh Fire men’s team in the inaugural season of The Hundred this summer.
A former Australia captain, Smith will lead a team that includes fellow countryman Mitchell Starc and England stars Jonny Bairstow and Tom Banton.
England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett adds pace to Fire’s bowling attack that will also include Ravi Rampaul, while short-format specialists Qais Ahmad and Danny Briggs are joined by Simon Harmer in their spin bowling ranks.
Smith said: “It’s an honour to be asked to captain Welsh Fire in the first year of The Hundred. Our squad looks super strong with a great group of players who’ve dominated the international and domestic scenes for the past few years.
“Tom Banton is one of the most exciting young players in the world right now and Mitchell Starc brings the X-factor with the ball, so we’re looking to put on an amazing show for the fans in Cardiff.”
Welsh Fire men’s head coach, Gary Kirsten, said: “Steve’s knowledge and experience of leading teams in pressurised situations will definitely help us in this first season of The Hundred.
“He’s got a track record of getting the best out of his players while performing to a very high standard himself, which will be key for us this summer.”
Smith was stripped of the Australian captaincy and served a 12-month ban from cricket for his role in the March 2018 ball-tampering affair in South Africa, but has since made a sensational return to international cricket.
Smith scored 774 runs in seven innings the 2019 Ashes against England, hitting three fifties and three hundreds – including one double-ton – as Australia drew the series and retained the Ashes urn.
The Hundred is a new competition that will see eight teams competing against each other across seven cities in a 100-ball-a-side game – broadcast live on Sky Sports Cricket.
The Hundred will start on July 17, 2020, with Smith leading lead Welsh Fire in the competition’s opening fixture against Oval Invincibles at the Kia Oval.
Watch The Hundred, live on Sky Sports, from July 2020.
Source : Sky Sports