England bowler James Anderson has expressed his astonishment at the fact that Pakistan’s captain Babar Azam was not picked in this year’s The Hundred draft — a UK-based league — stating that he would have spent his entire budget to include him in the team.
According to Wisden, Azam was unable to secure a place in The Hundred for the second consecutive year, despite setting his base price at £100,000, and remained unsold.
Last year, Azam was also excluded from The Hundred tournament, despite listing himself at a reserve price of £125,000.
While speaking on the BBC’s Tailenders podcast, Anderson said that he would have spent the “entire budget” to make sure that Babar Azam was on his side.
He remarked: “I’d pay double for him. I’d spend the whole budget on Babar Azam. The only thing I can guess [for his absence] is that there might have been an availability issue. He might not be available for the whole Hundred.”
The Hundred is a professional franchise cricket league of 100 balls played in England and Wales. The competition, which was initiated in 2021, comprises eight teams that symbolise various cities, with each side playing precisely 100 balls in their innings.
The Hundred is scheduled to start from August 1 to August 27 this year.
Earlier this year, the International Cricket Council (ICC) named Azam as Men’s ODI Player of the Year (2022) for the second time in a row for his “match-winning knocks [and] spell-binding stroke-play”.
The ICC praised the skipper for his role as the Pakistan captain as well, “leading his team with aplomb and to just one loss throughout the year”, which was against Australia in Lahore.
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