Australian Aaron Finch will return to Headingley next summer as the headline act for the Northern Superchargers in The Hundred competition.
The 32-year-old – a former overseas player for Yorkshire – was the first-round pick for Northern’s head coach Darren Lehmann’s new team during Sunday night’s televised draft.
Former Yorkshire star Lehmann said: “I know that next summer at Headingley is going to be amazing.
“I’ve selected a great team, and I have no doubt, Ben, Adil and the rest of the squad are going to throw everything at the competition, to kick The Hundred off in style and get even more people watching cricket.”
England’s man of the moment, Ben Stokes, who edged Test captain Joe Root as the landmark pick of the Headingley side, believes the competition represents a step up for the domestic calendar.
“Oh yes, 100 per cent. Every game will be a big game, with so many people watching and playing against the very best in the world,” he said.
“I think we look like the best team on paper as we’ve got all bases covered: power, spin and Ben Foakes as keeper - he’s the best in England.”
Rashid Khan had earlier become the first player selected in The Hundred but West Indies great Chris Gayle went undrafted for the inaugural staging of the competition.
The 21-year-old Afghanistan spinner has had a sensational start to his international career, averaging under 20 with the ball in all three formats including 81 wickets at 12.03 in Twenty20. He was made the first overall pick for the competition by the Trent Rockets.
West Indies all-rounder Andre Russell went next to the Southern Brave, with Australia batsman Finch third to the Leeds-based Superchargers as the first-round picks came thick and fast.
Gayle was not among them, though – and with players not eligible to be selected if they failed to make their allotted price point, the 37-year-old will be absent from the competition along with international pacemen Lasith Malinga and Kagiso Rabada.
Each of the eight teams had two picks in the first round, barring the Phoenix, Spirit and Oval Invincibles who had allocated the second spots in the £125,000 price band to “local icon” players.
The Welsh Fire selected Australia duo Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith, with the Invincibles adding West Indies spinner Sunil Narine to the pre-selected Jason Roy.
The Manchester Originals pair South Africa spinner Imran Tahir with Dane Vilas, already a successful Vitality Blast overseas player for Lancashire.
All-rounders Glenn Maxwell (London Spirit) and Liam Livingstone (Birmingham Phoenix) completed the first selections, accompanying ‘icon’ picks Eoin Morgan and Moeen Ali respectively.
The Superchargers had already selected Yorkshire pair Adil Rashid and David Willey as ‘icon’ players, and they were joined by Headingley team-mates Adam Lyth and Tom Kohler-Cadmore.
Afghanistan teenage spinner Mujeeb Ur Rahman was picked as an overseas selection, alongside Australian batsman Chris Lynn.
Other notable player selections on the night included Rashid Khan for Trent Rockets, Andre Russell for Southern Brave, Steve Smith for Welsh Fire, Sam Billings for Oval Invincibles, Imran Tahir for Manchester Originals, Mark Wood for London Spirit and Liam Livingstone for Birmingham Phoenix.
During the evening, Northern Superchargers also announced the signing of Alyssa Healy to join the women’s team as a marquee player.
Healy’s signing represents the first announcement of the second stage of the player selection process within the women’s competition. She will join England stars Lauren Winfield and Linsey Smith, who were unveiled in stage one of the process earlier this month.
Sanjay Patel, managing director of The Hundred said: “We now have eight quality men’s teams and eight more world class women’s players confirmed to feature in The Hundred next summer. The Hundred Draft was an incredible way to put the men’s teams together – another great historical moment for British sport this year. We hope these new teams will inspire existing fans and newcomers to not only rally behind them, but also pick up a bat and ball and join in.”
In total 96 players were selected in the first major player draft in British sport, with 474 going unsold.
Northern Superchargers: Ben Stokes, Aaron Finch, Mujeeb Ur Rahman, Chris Lynn, Adil Rashid, Adam Lyth, David Willey, Richard Gleeson, Ben Foakes, Tom Kohler-Cadmore, David Wiese, Nathan Rimmington, Brydon Carse, Ed Barnard, John Simpson.