Welsh Fire has released Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc ahead of the inaugural season of The Hundred. The team had named Jonny Bairstow as one of their top-band picks in January.
England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) had permitted The Hundred teams to release or retain the men players at their will ahead of the player’s draft this month. One of the teams Welsh Fire chose to retain Australian players Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc for the sum amount of £125,000. However, they have now released both the players ahead of the tournament, that was postponed last year due to COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the men overseas players retained by their respective teams include Kane Williamson, Aaron Finch, Glenn Maxwell, Mark Wood, Chris Lynn, Marcus Stoinis, D’Arcy Short, Nathan Coulter-Nile, Adam Zampa, and Andre Russell.
The eight teams competing in the tournament will get to fill in the gaps in their squad in the players draft on February 23. Up to 35 spots are available to be filled in all the eight teams.
Total 23 women players have also secured their spot in their respective squads names of which include, Dane van Niekerk, Issy Wong, Amelia Kerr, and Alex Hartley.
Players announced by Welsh Fire that they have retained include Qais Ahmad, Amy Gordon, Ryan Higgins, David Payne, Liam Plunkett.
After the tournament was shelved last year, the ECB has decided to inaugurate the 100-ball tournament in July this year.