Southern Brave’s Hundred picks showcase the changing nature of cricket’s short-game specialists

Andre Russell will be playing at The Ageas Bowl for the Southern Brave franchise next summer
Andre Russell will be playing at The Ageas Bowl for the Southern Brave franchise next summer
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THE Southern Brave’s marquee signings for next summer’s inaugural Hundred tournament showcase the peripatetic nature of today’s T20 superstars.

Brave chose West Indian all-rounder Andre Russell and Australian batsman David Warner on Sunday evening as their two £125,000 picks for their Ageas Bowl-based franchise.

Pakistan youngster Shadab Khan, meanwhile, was a £75,000 selection.

Russell is the ninth highest wicket-taker in T20 history with 276 victims. He has also scored over 5,065 runs in a career which has seen him play for 10 teams in England, Asia, Australia and the Caribbean.

He has appeared for Worcestershire (2013) and Notts (2016) in the T20 Blast, for Delhi and Kolkata in the Indian Premier League, for Melbourne Renegade and Sydney Thunder in the Australian Big Bash, for Khulna and Dhaka in the Bangladesh Premier League, for Multan in the Pakistan Super League and for Jamaica in the Caribbean Super League.

Russell is very much one of the players who concentrates purely on T20 cricket to showcase his undoubted talent - witness his sole Test appearance and just 17 first class games, compared to his 306 T20 matches.

Warner is the fifth highest T20 runscorer of all time with 8,803 runs from 270 innings, including seven hundreds.

The only four men to have scored more in the shortest form of the game are Chris Gayle (13,051), Brendon McCullum (9,922), Kieron Polland (9,781) and Shoaib Malik (9,018).

But Warner has made his runs from 270 innings, compared to McCullum’s 364, Pollard’s 443 and Malik’s 337.

Warner’s T20 average of 36.67 is higher than both Pollard (30.75) and McCullum (29.97).

He has also travelled the world playing for whoever pays him what he wants - Delhi and the Sunrisers in the IPL, for Middlesex (2010) in the T20 Blast, for Northern Districts in the New Zealand HRV Cup, for St Lucia Stars in the Caribbean League and for Sylhet in the Bangladesh Premier League.

Khan, a leg break and googly bowler, is just 21 but has already played 96 T20 games - including stints in the Pakistan Super League, the Caribbean Super League and the Big Bash.

Another much-travelled Brave signing is seamer Tymal Mills.

Due to previous injuries, the 27-year-old only plays T20 cricket these days - his last first class appearance was in April 2015.

Mills has been another ‘gun for hire’ with stints in the IPL, Big Bash, Pakistan Super League, the McDonald’s Super Smash (New Zealand), the Bangladesh Super League and the Afghanistan Super League.

In all, he has taken 115 wickets in 110 T20 outings.

T20 cricket's most decorated veterans Chris Gayle, Lasith Malinga and Dwayne Bravo all went unsold at the competition's inaugural draft.

Ex-Hampshire skipper Shane Warne, the head coach of London Spirit, suggested Gayle and Malinga were left in the cold because they had over-reached.

‘They priced themselves wrong,’ he said. ‘If they'd gone in at £100,000 and not £125,000, I think they'd have been picked up.’

Northern Superchargers counterpart Darren Lehmann added: ‘It was a tough one, they've been superstars for so long but then the next generation is knocking on the door...you’ve only got two picks at £125,000.’