BURY cricketer Kate Cross has been named as one of the first 18 players to take part in The Hundred competition in 2021.

England Men’s wicketkeeper-batsman Jos Buttler and England Women’s seamer Cross have both retained from the Manchester Originals’ initial men’s and women’s playing squads respectively.

The duo join the 18-strong list of players, including the likes of England stars Joe Root, Amy Jones, Nat Sciver and Jofra Archer, who have today been confirmed to play in cricket’s new 100-ball competition.

This news marks the start of a three-month process where, until the end of January, each of the eight teams will be able to retain players from their original men’s squads for the 2021 season. The teams are also able to retain and sign players to complete their women’s squads. A draft will be held in early 2021 to allocate the remaining players for the men’s squads.

Cross, who played for Heywood Cricket Club, said: “It’s a really good move to give all the women’s players the opportunity to roll-over their original contract offer.

"It gives us security and it’s positive as well that our salaries have been untouched, despite COVID-19.

“I’m Manchester Originals through and through and not only do we have the best kit, we’re building a very strong squad. I’m really excited for the first year of The Hundred and I can’t wait to get going.”

The announcement has confirmed that ten of England’s men’s Test stars, including Buttler, will compete when the competition launches next year. The first eight women’s players have also been unveiled, including a host of England players and two of the West Indies’ star performers.

Most teams have retained the same Test players that were due to play for them this year, before the competition was postponed due to Covid-19, with only England batsmen Ollie Pope (Welsh Fire) and Rory Burns (Oval Invincibles) moving teams.

Pope joins Welsh Fire, after he was originally drafted by Southern Brave, and will be joined by Katie George who was retained from the team’s initial squad.

London Spirit have decided to keep hold of Zak Crawley and there’s more good news for Spirit fans with Deandra Dottin re-signing off the back of some impressive form against England in the recent Vitality IT20 Series.

Across the Thames, Oval Invincibles have signed Rory Burns as a Test Central Contracted selection from their London rivals as well as retaining their two England players with Sam Curran and Fran Wilson both confirming their commitment to the men’s and women’s teams respectively.

Further south, Southern Brave keep a pair of superstars with Jofra Archer and West Indies captain Stafanie Taylor signing up, but with Pope joining Welsh Fire they’ll now have a space to fill in the men’s draft.

Northern Superchargers remain unchanged with Ben Stokes and Lauren Winfield-Hill staying at Emerald Headingley.

England Men’s Test captain Joe Root and England Women’s leading allrounder Nat Sciver will stay at Trent Rockets, while local heroes Amy Jones and Chris Woakes will remain at Birmingham Phoenix in addition to new Test-contracted batsman Dominic Sibley.

Sanjay Patel, Managing Director for The Hundred, said: “This is a really exciting moment for The Hundred to see where the Test centrally contracted men’s players will be playing next year and to announce the first retained players for the women’s teams.

“Over the next few months we will see world-class players and massive names from around the world committing to The Hundred and we can’t wait to launch the competition in 2021.”

Confirmed players for The Hundred

Birmingham Phoenix – Amy Jones, Chris Woakes and Dominic Sibley

London Spirit – Zak Crawley and Deandra Dottin

Manchester Originals – Jos Buttler and Kate Cross

Northern Superchargers – Ben Stokes and Lauren Winfield-Hill

Oval Invincibles – Sam Curran, Rory Burns and Fran Wilson

Southern Brave – Jofra Archer and Stafanie Taylor

Trent Rockets – Joe Root and Nat Sciver

Welsh Fire – Katie George and Ollie Pope