Retirement on cards? Harbhajan Singh only Indian in The Hundred player draft
Harbhajan Singh is the only Indian player to have put his name the player draft for the inaugural season of The Hundred, which is scheduled to take place next year. Harbhajan, who last played for India in March 2016, has been out-of-favour from the national side for quite a while and has also been out of action for Punjab in the domestic circuit for over a year. He, however, is a regular in the Indian Premier League (IPL) where he plays for the Chennai Super Kings (CSK).
Harbhajan's decision to enter the player draft of The Hundred can be a hint that he is ready to call it quits from international cricket. Despite having remained sidelined from the Indian team for over three years now, the 39-year-old is yet to announce his retirement. The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) allows only the players who have retired from international cricket to obtain an NOC and take part in overseas T20 leagues.
In order to get clearance from the BCCI, Harbhajan will have to retire before he can be granted permission to play in The Hundred. Earlier, former India all-rounder and Harbhajan's former teammate Yuvraj Singh played in the Canada Global T20 but only after retiring from international cricket. It is not known if Harbhajan has held talks with the BCCI before putting his name in the player draft at The Hundred.
The Hundred is a hundred-ball cricket tournament launched by the England Cricket Board. The inaugural edition of the tournament will be played in July 2020. A total of eight city-based franchises will take part in the competition and each of the eight franchise will have a men's and women's team each.
Harbhajan has been utilised well by MS Dhoni at Chennai Super Kings having been majorly used in powerplays. Bhajji picked up 16 wickets for the last season's runners-up in eleven matches and has bagged a total 23 wickets in 24 matches for the three-time champions. Having not played professional cricket for a while now, Harbhajan will have to be on top of his fitness and form to find a suitable buyer in the auction after putting his base price at 1,00,000 GBP.
The main draft for the competition will take place on October 20 but all eight teams have already picked a host of big names from England's squads and domestic teams. England all-rounder Ben Stokes has been picked up by Northern Superchargers while Jos Buttler and Jofra Archer will play for Manchester Originals and Southern Brave teams respectively. All-rounder Sam Curran will be playing for the Invincibles and England Test skipper Joe Root will be turning up for Trent Rockets.