Stokes signed by Northern Superchargers as The Hundred launched

London (AFP) –


Ben Stokes was picked ahead of England Test captain Joe Root to play for the Leeds-based Northern Superchargers franchise as The Hundred was officially launched on Thursday.

The eight franchises were named and the first batch of players allocated, including England's centrally-contracted Test contingent.

The 100-ball competition, starting in 2020, is a new tournament consisting of city-based franchise sides, breaking away from England's traditional county system.

Teams will bat for 100 balls each with overs, normally consisting of six deliveries, lasting for 10 balls with bowlers either bowling five or 10 balls consecutively.

Stokes, who starred at the World Cup and in the Ashes, will play for the Headingley side Northern Superchargers while Root, who plays county cricket in Leeds for Yorkshire, was picked up by Nottingham-based Trent Rockets.

Jofra Archer will spearhead the Southern Brave bowling attack, Jos Buttler will play for Manchester Originals, Chris Woakes represents Birmingham Phoenix and Sam Curran joins brother Tom at Oval Invincibles.

Each team were also able to pick up two "icon" players from their local area, as well as the first two representatives of their women's side.

World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan will play for the Lord's franchise, London Spirit, with England women's captain Heather Knight also heading to the home of cricket.

Speaking about his new assignment Root said: "The best players in the world are coming here to compete and we're going to get the chance to test ourselves against them once again. There has never been a more exciting time for cricket."

Jonny Bairstow welcomed the chance to represent Welsh Fire even though he, like Root, plays for Yorkshire.

"I enjoy Cardiff, I made my England debut there and it's an amazing place," he said.

"It's a new competition, a new format and new teams. It will feel weird going to Headingley and being in the away dressing room, but it's an amazing honour to be one of the guys to figurehead a team."