Hundred set to face fight to recruit top players due to planned expansion of Twenty20 franchise tournament in the United States… with stars earning nearly £200,000 more in the MLC
- The first edition of MLC is due to take place in Texas and North Carolina in July
- One team has had talks with Australia star Steve Smith about playing next year
- There is a general strategy of targeting those who have played in the Hundred
The ECB face a fight to recruit the world’s best players for the Hundred from next year due to a planned expansion of Major League Cricket in the United States.
The first edition of MLC, the newest Twenty20 franchise tournament, is due to take place over three weekends in Texas and North Carolina this July, but Mail Sport can reveal there are plans to expand next year into August and overlap with the Hundred, the ECB’s flagship event.
The next T20 World Cup — which England are the holders of — will be co-hosted by the US and West Indies in June 2024, and MLC organisers hope to capitalise on the raised interest by staging a longer version of their competition soon after.
MLC have already recruited big-name internationals Aaron Finch, Marcus Stoinis and Quinton de Kock for this summer’s launch, with more overseas stars to follow.
There are six franchises — in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Seattle, Texas and Washington — one of whom has had talks with Australia star Steve Smith about playing next summer. There is a general strategy of targeting those who have played in the Hundred.
Bowler Liam Plunkett is the only Englishman so far to commit to this year’s MLC
With four of the six teams owned by IPL franchises and the other two backed by Australian states, MLC is more lucrative than the Hundred.
Players can earn £300,000 in MLC, compared to a top rate of £125,000 for a month’s contract in England.
The Hundred is already facing an uncertain future. As revealed by Mail Sport, the ECB are in talks with counties about replacing it with a new T20 tournament called the English Premier League.
The ECB are aware of the threat posed by MLC, and have responded to it by seeking to prevent England players from signing up.
World Cup winners Jason Roy and Alex Hales attracted interest from MLC franchises this year but have yet to sign, with the ECB showing a reluctance to sign the No Objection Certificate required to release them from county duties.
MLC organisers are understood to have retaliated by attempting to discourage the franchises from recruiting English players, a move which will only intensify the competition for foreign stars.
As a result Liam Plunkett is the only Englishman who has so far committed to the MLC this summer, with the former England bowler already being a resident in the United States.
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