With the amount of business the Old Trafford-based men’s side had to do in the 2021 re-draft, having to make 10 re-selections due to absentees, the Manchester Alternatives may be a more apt name.
Their coaches Simon Katich and Paul Shaw will have different challenges in putting their sides together, playing half their games at Old Trafford which historically favours spin more, may well suit the women’s side more than the men’s with the quality of spin bowling on offer. It will be interesting to see the pitches when they are prepared.
The news that the England men’s Test players will be available for the first two matches will mean fans who usually frequent Old Trafford may well see more of Jos Buttler for the Originals than the Red Rose, which should be exciting especially if his hitting pays off.
They will also get to see England internationals in the women’s side with captain Kate Cross and Sophie Ecclestone, the number one ranked T20I bowler in the world. The prospect of these stars bowling 10 balls in a row could be too good to miss.
If England internationals aren’t your cup of tea, then don’t fear. For the Originals men you can see the raw pace, vicious yorkers and awful moustache of Lockie Ferguson, the all-round talent of Carlos Brathwaite (remember the name) and the world franchise cricket veteran Colin Munro. For the women you should see runs, runs and more runs from their overseas stars with Harmenpreet Kaur, Lizelle Lee and Mignon Du Preez as well as the in-form Emma Lamb. In both squads there is exciting talent everywhere you look, however, whether there is enough talent to progress in the competition we shall have to wait and see.
Women: Kate Cross, Danielle Collins, Mignon du Preez, Harmanpreet Kaur, Alice Dyson, Cordelia Griffith, Hannah Jones, Lizelle Lee, Georgie Boyce, Natalie Brown, Ellie Threlkeld, Alex Hartley, Emma Lamb, Sophie Ecclestone, Laura Jackson.
Their squad has balance, the one area they may be lacking is in the seam bowling department, with Cross the main threat. Their strength will be in spin bowling with Ecclestone and local favourite Alex Hartley. Their real power however is in their top order batting, and expect fireworks with Lamb and the three overseas players to provide the spark.
Men: Jos Buttler, Joe Clarke, Phil Salt, Matt Parkinson, Lockie Ferguson, Tom Lammonby, Steven Finn, Colin Ackermann, Tom Hartley, Carlos Brathwaite, Colin Munro, Ollie Robinson, Sam Hain, Fred Klaassen, Dan Douthwaite, Calvin Harrison.
The highest ranked pick from the initial draft for the Originals is Phil Salt, the attacking batter from Sussex should give the Originals impetus at the top of the order and an opening pair for the first two games of Buttler and Salt is salivating. The bargain pick for the Originals has to be Joe Clarke who they secured for just 40K, the classy attacking batter should be fun to watch and it will be interesting to see how he fares away from Trent Bridge.
Women: With an array of Internationals it would be easy to look at one of them as a key player, however Emma Lamb is yet to make her debut for England, but it shouldn’t be long. Her power hitting at the top of the order will give her side a great start to the innings. Lamb also offers handy bowling too, so don’t be surprised if she doesn’t get you with the bat, she will get you with the ball.
Men: Playing on his county home ground where he has built such a reputation and propelled himself to England recognition, Matt Parkinson and the Originals will be hoping that he can spin them to success. A lot will be riding on Parkinson’s shoulders though with the spin back up likely to come from Colin Ackerman, Parkinson will need to show his class and that he is international standard.
How they’ll fare
In a new competition with new playing regulations and tactics to get to grips it is hard to predict who will do well and whoever gets a handle on these quickly will stand the best chance.
Playing at Old Trafford with only one recognised high quality spinner is a gamble but that is what the men’s side will do. That gamble could cost them as they may well struggle to contain sides on their spinning pitches. They will be hoping that the raw pace of Ferguson will make up for that, however it is unlikely to make enough of a difference and the Originals will struggle to qualify for the later stages of the tournament.
Although lacking high quality seam bowling, the strength in batting and slow bowling should be enough to see the Original women qualify for the later stages. Playing half their games at spin friendly Old Trafford with Hartley and Ecclestone should see them strangle sides enough to allow Kaur, Lee, Lamb and Du Preez to knock the runs off at a canter.
Women – Away vs Oval Invincibles – 21st July 18.30
Men – Away vs Oval Invincibles – 22nd July 18.30