The inaugural season of The Hundred will feature as many as five Indian women cricketers including the likes of India’s T20I skipper Harmanpreet Kaur and top-ranked T20I batter Shafali Verma. Star batswoman Smriti Mandhana, all-rounder Deepti Sharma and top-order batter – Jemimah Rodrigues are the others who will be part of the inaugural edition of the 100-ball tournament, starting July 21. Harmanpreet will be representing the Manchester Originals, while 17-year-old Shafali joins Birmingham Phoenix as a replacement for New Zealand’s Sophie Devine.

The duo will be joined by opener Mandhana, Deepti and batswoman Rodrigues in the 100-ball tournament involving eight men’s and women’s teams. Mandhana, the Indian T20 vice-captain, is set to form a devastating opening partnership with England’s Danni Wyatt at Southern Brave. Deepti will represent the London Spirit franchise and Rodrigues will play for the Northern Superchargers.

Harmanpreet, known for her explosive hitting power, will star in the opening match as she joins Manchester Originals. “It’s very exciting that I’m going to get to play in the first-ever game of The Hundred,” Kaur was quoted by the official website of the tournament.

“It will be special to make history, especially with a women’s match at such a big ground. We’ve played in front of some large crowds in India and it’s always a great experience for the players,” she added.

Rodrigues, Kaur, Mandhana and Sharma were also a part of the now-defunct Kia Super League (KSL) in 2019, the England and Wales Cricket Board’s domestic T20 tournament that made way for the Women’s Hundred.

The Hundred, which was postponed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled to start from July 21 with the women’s match between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals in London.

Beth Barrett-wild, Head of The Hundred women’s competition, said: “It’s so good to finally be able to confirm the involvement of some of the superstars from the India team. They’re a hugely exciting group of players and they’ll bring a lot to the competition.”

“I can’t wait for July 21, I can’t wait for the whole competition, and I can’t wait for fans to see these world-class players doing what they do best,” she added.