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The Hundred Draft: Kent's Sam Billings, Joe Denly, Alex Blake and Zak Crawley selected in player draft

ByCameron Hogwood

Skipper Sam Billings was the first of his Kent teammates off the board as he was selected by the Oval Invincibles in the second round of the inaugural player draft for The Hundred on Sunday evening.

He joins up with Kent head coach Matt Walker who will serve as assistant to Tom Moody alongside Vikram Solanki for the Oval-based side.

Joe Denly was later taken in the fourth round by London Spirit, before Kent big-hitter Alex Blake was also plucked by the Oval Invincibles to team up with Billings and Walker.

Zak Crawley, who recently earned a call-up to England's Test squad for the tour of New Zealand, earned himself a spot on the London Spirit side with Denly in the sixth round.

Kent skipper Sam Billings was selected by the Oval Invincibles in the second round of the inaugural player draft for The Hundred
Kent skipper Sam Billings was selected by the Oval Invincibles in the second round of the inaugural player draft for The Hundred

Reacting to his second round selection, Billings told Sky Sports: "Ravi Bopara and I were the only two who weren’t elected out of the English players earlier, so the lads were having a bit of a laugh at our expense!"

"I'm very happy. You obviously have preferences, but it's great to be at The Oval.

"It’s a strong side on paper and a great ground to play at so I'm very happy, with the Curran brothers (Sam and Tom) there as well.

"You don't know how much Sam will be there, but Tom's arguably one of the best in the country. A death bowler to help him out would be great."

Billings finished the campaign with three successive County Championship hundreds having hit 74 runs in four T20 innings, including a top score of 55.

Denly chalked up 504 first-class runs and a best of 167 not out in 2019, however barely featured in the Royal London One-Day Cup due to his IPL involvement and didn't play at all in the T20 Blast amid his time with England during the Ashes.

Blake always loomed as a potential steal upon his entry into the draft having registered 204 runs from 11 T20 innings with a best of 66 not out in 2019.

Kent's One-Day Player of the Season, Batsman of the Year and Players' Player of the Season Crawley meanwhile managed 820 first-class runs and a best of 111, as well as 394 runs in the One-Day Cup with a best of 120 and 307 T20 runs with a best of 89.

It was also announced that Tammy Beaumont will play for London Spirit in The Women's Hundred, with the Kent captain one of eight additional marquee signings.

Afghanistan all-rounder Mohammad Nabi and South African fast bowler Hardus Viljoen were selected by London Spirit and the Oval Invincibles in the second and fourth rounds, respectively, following their involvement for Kent in this year's T20 Vitality Blast.

Nabi fired 147 runs in nine outings for Kent, including a superb 43 not out consisting of five sixes and two fours as the Spitfires beat Surrey by nine wickets in a match that had been reduced to seven-overs-per-side due to the rain.

He also picked up eight wickets with the ball, while Viljoen led Kent with 18 in total at an average of 19.72.

Afghanistan spinner Rashid Khan was the first player selected on the night, with the Trent Rockets putting their faith in the no.1 ranked T20 bowler in the world as their £125k player.

The Oval-based Kent and Surrey side used their first pick on West Indies spinner Sunil Narine, with Chris Gayle, Kagiso Rabada and Lasith Malinga posing as surprise omissions in the pool of players that had set their reserve at £125k.

The Hundred is due to begin in summer 2020.

Read more: All the latest Kent sport news

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