Jordan Thompson is relishing the prospect of picking the brains behind England’s World Cup triumph during the next month of Hundred action.
The Yorkshire all-rounder has swapped teams for the second season, moving from the Northern Superchargers to Lord’s based London Spirit, who are coached by Trevor Bayliss and captained by Eoin Morgan.
Thompson is a 26-year-old with significant short-form experience having played overseas in Australia and Pakistan during the most recent winter. But the excitement is that he still has plenty of margin for improvement.
“To have Bayliss there will be brilliant, and obviously Morgan as well with everything they’ve done for English cricket,” he said.
“I will certainly be picking their brains to see how they can affect my game and make me better.”
Thompson has been recruited to help Spirit turn around a poor inaugural season which saw them finish bottom of the table with only one win and six defeats from eight games.
He is part of a squad including Kieron Pollard, Glenn Maxwell and winter Hobart Hurricanes team-mates Ben McDermott and Nathan Ellis.
“It will be a bit of a change of scenery for a Yorkshire boy like me,” he smiled. “But I’m looking forward to it, getting into Lord’s with some different team-mates and coaching staff.
“I go into the Hundred on the back of some confidence following the T20 stuff.
“Everyone went into last year as a bit of an unknown, but we all know what it’s about now – the set-up of the games and how to approach it.
“Teams are quite settled as well when you look down the squads. Spirit is perhaps the one which has changed the most.”
The biggest change of the lot at Spirit is the heartbreaking replacement of Shane Warne as head coach following the Australian legend’s death earlier this year.
Warne took charge of Spirit last year and was due to again this.
“To have him there would have been brilliant,” admitted Thompson.
“Even if you didn’t know him, everyone around the world was affected by what happened. I never met him, but you can tell what kind of guy he was.
“He was a massive character, a legend of the game.
“Those lads who played under him last year will have been hit a lot more.
“Unfortunately, he won’t be around. But he will be there with us in spirit. I know it’s a cliche, but the lads will be fighting to win games for him. There’s no doubt about that.”
For players, the Hundred is a completely different experience to anything else in English cricket. With players drafted, automatically people know what kind of contract you are on. For example, Thompson has been drafted by Spirit at a cost of £75,000.
It happens elsewhere in the world in various ways, including at the IPL auction, where figures are much, much higher.
So, does that add extra pressure during a tournament for players like Thompson?
“I haven’t really thought about it like that, if I’m honest,” he said. “But it can be the case where if you have a few bad games, it pops up on social media, ‘Why’s he on this, why’s he on that?’
“At the end of the day, people who are on those figures have justified it through consistent performances.
“I won’t go out there wondering what people think of me. I couldn’t care less. I will just go and try to smack it and get some wickets.”
The men’s Hundred started last night with a landslide win for Southern Brave over Welsh Fire – the women’s Hundred starts next Thursday because of the Commonwealth Games.
Spirit’s first game is tonight, the London derby against Oval Invincibles at the Oval.
Thompson’s returns to Headingley comes on Sunday August 14 when Spirit tackle the Northern Superchargers, who themselves missed out on the finals last year.
The Headingley based Superchargers finished fifth, winning three of their eight games and losing four.
They will be captained by South African Faf du Plessis, who has recovered from the concussion injury which ruled him out of the 2021 edition, while former England wicketkeeper James Foster has replaced Darren Lehmann as coach.
Yorkshire coach Ottis Gibson will be his assistant.
Yorkshire quartet Harry Brook, Adam Lyth, Adil Rashid and David Willey are all part of a squad which includes overseas players du Plessis, Dwayne Bravo, Wahab Riaz and David Wiese.
There are eight Yorkshire players in all in the Hundred. There would have been 10 had Matthew Fisher (Birmingham Phoenix) not been sidelined with a back stress fracture. Jonny Bairstow has also opted out of the Hundred with Welsh Fire to rest ahead of England’s Test series against South Africa later this month.
Tom Kohler-Cadmore, Dawid Malan and Joe Root are all with the Trent Rockets.
The Superchargers men open their account against Manchester Originals at Emirates Old Trafford tomorrow evening.