Ollie Pope joins Welsh Fire, with Katie George re-signing

9 Oct 2020 | Cricket

The first 18 players confirmed to take part in The Hundred have been revealed today – with England batsman Ollie Pope one of the first players to move teams.

Pope will be heading to Cardiff to play for Welsh Fire, where he will be joined by England bowler Katie George – one of eight women’s players whose decision to roll over their 2020 contract offer has been confirmed.

Alongside Pope, the destination for the England Men’s Test Centrally Contracted players has also been announced. The first eight women’s players to have rolled over their contracts have been unveiled, including six England players and two West Indian superstars.

While many of the men’s teams have retained the same Test players that were due to play for them this year before the inaugural year of the competition was postponed due to Covid-19, two England stars – Pope and Rory Burns - are on the move. Burns will cross London to join Oval Invincibles.

This announcement marks the start of a three-month men’s retention window meaning until the end of January, the eight men’s teams will be able to retain players from their original 2020 squad for the 2021 season. A men’s draft will be held in early 2021 to select the remaining players.

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

Alongside recruiting Rory Burns, Oval Invincibles have retained two England players with Sam Curran and Fran Wilson both confirming their commitment to the men’s and women’s sides 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.

The two northern teams remain unchanged with Kate Cross and Jos Buttler staying at Manchester Originals, and Lauren Winfield-Hill and Ben Stokes remaining Northern Superchargers players.

England Men’s Test captain Joe Root and England Women’s leading allrounder Nat Sciver will stay at Trent Rockets, while three local heroes in Amy Jones, Dom Sibley and Chris Woakes will line up for Birmingham Phoenix.

Ollie Pope said, “I’m incredibly excited to be joining Welsh Fire. The side had a really strong squad lined up and I’m sure they’ll be working hard to retain some of the star names and further strengthen the side in the upcoming draft.

“We have all experienced a year none of us could have predicted but The Hundred promises to be a hugely exciting competition next year and I can’t wait to take part.”

Katie George added, “We were building a really strong side at Welsh Fire and I’m really pleased to re-sign with them for 2021. I can’t wait to see how the rest of the team falls into place and I’m really looking forward to getting going next summer.

“The Hundred is hugely important to the ongoing growth of the women’s game, from both a performance and profile perspective. As a player I am hugely excited to get to play with and against some of the best cricketers in the world, and I’m sure the fans will get even more excited as more names are confirmed over the next few months.”

Sanjay Patel, Managing Director for The Hundred, said, “This is a really exciting moment for The Hundred to see where the England Men’s Test Central Contract players will be playing next year and to announce the first wave of re-signed 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.”