The Hundred: Simon Katich's Information to Constructing a Staff from scratch
The Hundred will have eight franchises and will see 100 balls per innings on the sides – 20 less than a Twenty20 game
How do you build a cricket team from scratch? One that has no history, no identity, and no players.
Manchester Originals men's head coach Simon Katich had to do just that – assemble a group of 15 players from around the world with the ambitious goal of winning the world's first 100-ball cricket competition.
How many batsmen do you need? What about bowlers? Speed or spin? What's your team ethic? Who is your leader
All of these questions and more revolved around Katich's mind as he put the finishing touches to his Originals squad in the final draft for Monday's men's competition.
In an interview with BBC Sport, Katich shares what he was looking for when putting his team together.
"An opportunity to start over"
Simon Katich was a coach at clubs in the Caribbean Premier League and the Indian Premier League
When The Hundred's launch was delayed by a year due to the coronavirus pandemic, teams were given the choice of either keeping the players signed in the 2019 draft or starting again in a second draft that took place behind closed doors on Monday.
While some of the eight franchises retained the majority of the cricketers they originally signed in the first draft of the tournament in 2019, Manchester Originals had the most seats for new players entering the men's latest draft, with 10 seats.
"We immediately kept some people and then others who wanted more money, which is part of the negotiation and I definitely respect it," said Katich.
Decisions weren't just pure cricket decisions, some were clouded by either the pandemic and the resulting change in player availability or the UK's exit from the European Union.
South African Dane Vilas, who was one of the original's top picks in 2019 with a top price of £ 125,000, was not retained as he was no longer considered a "local" player after his election Kolpak status removed after Brexit.
But Katich "did his homework" as he set out to add a combination of youth, experience, international and national talent to his squad.
With fewer international cricket played this summer than originally planned for 2020, and Originals still had three overseas players to choose from, Katich was able to sign West Indian batsman Nicholas Pooran, Pakistani leg spinner Shadab Khan and South African sailor Kagiso Rabada.
"We have pretty much every player we wanted," said Katich.
The delayed tournament also allowed him to welcome English players "who had improved their skills over the past year and a half," such as fast bowler Richard Gleeson from Lancashire and batsman Tom Lammonby from Somerset.
"Beat with Freedom"
Katich is no stranger to a new competition with new rules.
In 2003 he was on the winning side of Hampshire against Sussex in one of the first Twenty20 games ever played.
The 45-year-old has trained T20 franchises around the world. His experience has helped him identify the type of squad to put together for The Hundred.
"It's about finding the right balance," he said. "For example, we realized that because many of our batsmen were right-handed, we wanted to pick up a young left-handed player in Tom Lammonby."
Katich also watched the youngest T10 league in Abu Dhabi – a format with 10 overs per side – and looked for the all-rounder Jamie Overton as a lower-level batsman.
"We knew we needed some power players at the back of an inning," he said.
"This generation is so good at playing with freedom. It doesn't mean you're relieved of responsibility, but it does free the mind to say," OK, I think I can beat this guy for six over cover first "and then back again. Do it."
"Bowlers are critical to your success"
While batsmen who can hit big and score quickly will be essential, Katich wanted to add depth to his tempo attack and signed veteran sailors Steven Finn and Harry Gurney.
"In a 100-ball tournament, bowlers are critical to your success – especially when it comes to decisions when guys start pinging the ball everywhere," said Katich.
He also recognizes the importance of having a strong field unit and Originals fans could come up with amazing catches such as this one from Pooran in last season's IPL.
"In this format you have to try to find the balance with the bowling line-up and the field unit," said Katich.
"In these shorter formats, every ball counts. To save a run or two on the field, since all bowlers are as mobile as possible, it goes a long way in trying to succeed to win titles."
Leader and competitive cricketer
Katich, who trains India's star and captain Virat Kohli for the Royal Challengers Bangalore in the Indian Premier League, believes a group of executives is essential to putting together a sports team from the ground up.
"You are definitely looking for a leader as early as possible so you don't play Russian roulette in the draft. This is one of the reasons we picked Dane last year for being skillful, but also captain of Lancashire," said he.
English star Jos Buttler, retained after the first draft, will be captain of the Originals but is likely to miss parts of the tournament due to international commitments, prompting Katich to sign other players with leadership experience and leadership skills.
English Vice-Captain Jos Buttler was one of five players, alongside Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson, Joe Clarke and Wayne Madsen, who were taken over from the original draft by Manchester Originals
"I talked to Jos about strategy. He would like to gain leadership experience and will take on responsibility," said Katich.
“But the nice thing is that we have a lot of people who can step in and play a role when Jos is not around. Pooran is a young player but he has played a lot of tournaments around the world, Colin Ackermann has experience and Steven Finn has Middlesex in command. "
Katich, who played 56 tests, 45 one-day caps and three T20s for Australia, is looking for more than just technical and leadership skills. He is looking for winners and players with a competitive advantage.
"When you look back on your career, your proudest accomplishments are lifting trophies with your teammates and that's what I want to try to convey to this group," he said.
"If you take Harry Gurney, I've seen that he did a great job in the Australian Big Bash for the Melbourne Renegades a few years ago when they won him. He won the Caribbean Premier League in 2019 and he's been with Nottinghamshire won. "
"Pooran was on winning teams as well as Jos.
"I'm looking for that character and that competitiveness in players who like to win because ultimately that's what we strive for. We try to entertain, but we also want to win titles."