• Du Plessis signs up for Hundred as Williamson pulls out

    Faf du Plessis will captain the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred after replacing Aaron Finch, while New Zealand’s Kane Williamson has also withdrawn.

    Several big-name overseas signings have been forced to pull out of the inaugural 100-ball-a-side eight-team competition, featuring men’s and women’s teams, for a variety of reasons including coronavirus travel restrictions, schedule clashes and injury.

    One of the biggest changes comes at Headingley, where former South Africa skipper Du Plessis takes over from Australia’s white-ball captain Finch.

    Birmingham Phoenix have had to make major changes, with Shaheen Shah Afridi, Adam Zampa and New Zealand captain Williamson all pulling out. Adam Milne, Imran Tahir and Finn Allen have taken their spots.

    Williamson, who last month led New Zealand to victory over India in the World Test Championship final, is managing an elbow injury.

    Nicolas Pooran and Shadab Khan will not be heading to Old Trafford, with Carlos Brathwaite and Colin Munro taking over at Manchester Originals.

    Australia commitments mean Glenn Maxwell and Nathan Coulter-Nile will not be turning out for London Spirit and Trent Rockets, freeing up slots for Josh Inglis and Wahab Riaz.

    Manchester Originals will replace the retired Harry Gurney with seamer Ollie Robinson, currently suspended from England duty over historical racist and sexist social media posts.

    There are also big changes to the lineups in the women’s competition, with Australia’s Alyssa Healy, Rachael Haynes, Ellyse Villani and Ashleigh Gardner all pulling out.

    South Africa’s Shabnim Ismail, ranked second in the world for T20 bowlers in the women’s game, is among the new arrivals at Oval Invincibles.

    Du Plessis said: “It is a real honour to lead Northern Superchargers in their first season.

    “Playing alongside the likes of Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid and Chris Lynn alongside a number of talented young players will be really exciting.”

    The Hundred starts on 21 July with a match in the women’s competition between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals.

    © Agence France-Presse

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    Craig Lewis