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Lewis, Craig and Roelof retained as Plunkett joins Tom at Welsh Fire

England World Cup winner Liam Plunkett is one of five players retained by Welsh Fire today for the first season of cricket’s new, action-packed competition The Hundred.

Elsewhere, Lewis Gregory (Trent Rockets), Craig Overton (Southern Brave) and Roelof van der Merwe (London Spirit) have also been retained by their teams.

One of England’s key white-ball bowlers during the successful Men’s World Cup campaign, Plunkett’s signing – along with confirmation that Afghan legspinner Qais Ahmad and Gloucestershire pair Ryan Higgins and David Payne will also join the squad – means Welsh Fire now have seven men’s players signed up to play. The team’s remaining seven slots will now be picked at a draft later this month.

South East Stars’ Amy Gordon joins Sophie Luff, Alex Griffiths, Georgia Hennessy, Lauren Filer and Natasha Wraith in an exciting Welsh Fire women’s team. Still only 19, all-rounder Gordon has been a regular for Surrey Women and the newly formed South East Stars as part of the new women’s Regional set-up.

Welsh Fire are one of eight new teams taking part in The Hundred, a new 100-ball competition that is designed to throw open cricket’s doors to everyone. Boasting world class men’s and women’s players, it will take place this summer and feature eight city-based teams from Birmingham, Cardiff, Leeds, Manchester, Nottingham, Southampton and two in London. It will be screened live by Sky and the BBC.

Plunkett joins fellow World Cup winner Jonny Bairstow in a men’s squad full of pace and power, with fellow England internationals, Tom Banton and Ben Duckett. Afghan legspinner Ahmad was most recently drafted by the Colombo Kings for the inaugural edition of the Lanka Premier League.

Liam Plunkett said: “I’m chuffed to be staying at Welsh Fire and I’m really looking forward to representing the team this summer. Jonny [Bairstow], Ollie [Pope] and Tom [Banton] are all top-class players and we’ve got the makings of a really strong line-up.”

Amy Gordon said: “I’m really excited to join Welsh Fire. There are some incredibly talented players in this team and it will be great to learn from them. It promises to be a hugely exciting summer of women’s cricket and I can’t wait to be part of it.”

In total another 56 men and women have today been confirmed as featuring in the action-packed 100-ball competition.

The men’s retention window – the period during which teams could re-sign players who had been due to play for them in 2020 – has now closed. The remaining picks for all eight men’s sides will be unveiled on 23 February. In total, teams have 35 spaces up for grabs in the Men’s Draft. Meanwhile the women’s squads will continue to be revealed until June.

Birmingham Phoenix have moved to strengthen their men’s squad with the retentions of overseas stars Shaheen Afridi and New Zealand captain Kane Williamson alongside hard-hitting Liam Livingstone and exciting seamer Isabelle Wong.

Three overseas stars will stay at Northern Superchargers with Australian white ball captain Aaron Finch and compatriot Chris Lynn lining up alongside Afghanistan spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman. The women’s side continues to develop with England bowlers Beth Langston and Linsey Smith joining.

England and Kent’s Sam Billings is part of an impressive list of retentions at Oval Invincibles. The overseas duo of South Africa skipper Dane Van Niekerk and Nepalese legspinner Sandeep Lamichhane will also stay at the Kia Oval.

Southern Brave welcome three big-name overseas players including New Zealand allrounder Amelia Kerr, West Indies star Andre Russell and Australian Marcus Stoinis.

Visit thehundred.com to find out more about the latest squads and the new 100-ball competition.

As a Somerset Member, you can buy up to six tickets for your family and friends at 50% off the early bird price, for all Welsh Fire group stage matches at Sophia Gardens during the exclusive members priority pre-sale window opening February 23rd.

Full list of players announced today:

Birmingham Phoenix: Shaheen Afridi, Thea Brookes, Chris Cooke, Gwen Davies, Liam Livingstone, Isabelle Wong, Kane Williamson

London Spirit:  Charlie Dean, Mason Crane, Freya Davies, Joe Denly, Hannah Jones, Glenn Maxwell, Sophie Munro, Roelof Van Der Merwe, Mark Wood

Manchester Originals: Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Ellie Threlkeld, Alex Hartley, Emma Lamb, Wayne Madsen, Matt Parkinson,

Northern Superchargers:  Aaron Finch, Beth Langston, Chris Lynn, John Simpson, Linsey Smith, Mujeeb Ur Rahman

Oval Invincibles: Sam Billings, Sarah Bryce, Alice Capsey, Laurie Evans, Jo Gardner, Will Jacks, Sandeep Lamichhane, Dane Van Niekerk

Southern Brave: Amelia Kerr, Fi Morris, Craig Overton, Andre Russell, Marcus Stoinis, Ross Whiteley

Trent Rockets: Nathan Coulter-Nile, Ben Cox, Lewis Gregory, Nancy Harman, Lucy Higham, D’Arcy Short, Luke Wood, Luke Wright

Welsh Fire: Qais Ahmad, Amy Gordon, Ryan Higgins, David Payne, Liam Plunkett

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