From choosing a team name to building a squad, creating a cricket team from scratch is far from straightforward.
What will they be called? What colour will they play in? What will their badge look like? Who will play for them? And so on.
Those were all decisions that had to be made when The Hundred – a new 100-ball competition to be played for the first time next summer – was conceived.
The competition – complete with team names and kits – was launched earlier this month, and the playing squads will be finalised on Sunday when the world’s top players will be snapped up by the eight new teams in the UK’s first major sporting draft.
But how have we got here? BBC Sport looks into the process of building a team up from nothing, to play in a competition which is completely different to anything seen on a cricket field before.
Step one: Pick a team name
In a major change for cricket in the UK, the new teams are franchises based in seven UK cities – London, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Birmingham, Southampton and Cardiff. Once that was decided, the next step was to assign names and build a brand.
The decision to step away from the traditional 18-county format of domestic cricket meant new identities had to be created for the teams.
To begin with, the England and Wales Cricket Board commissioned research into each of the seven competing cities and the surrounding areas, firstly targeting people aged 16-24 – the age group the ECB hopes The Hundred can attract – and then those aged up to 50.
That research gave the ECB a report on each team, pulling out various themes, which were taken forward by a branding company.
Southern Brave, for example, the team that will play in Southampton, were named after it was found young people in the area had an affinity with the region’s countryside.
Manchester’s moniker is the ‘Originals’, which is a nod to the city’s role in shaping the music scene of decades gone by – from The Hacienda nightclub, New Order and the Stone Roses to Oasis.
Trent Rockets are so called because the River Trent runs through all three of the Nottingham-based team’s catchment counties – Derbyshire, Leicestershire and Nottinghamshire – and the Invincibles name was given to The Oval-based franchise as a subtle reference to Invicta, the motto of Kent – one of the counties which will feed into the team.
Step two: Design a kit and logo
When it came to designing kits, colours that were already associated with local football teams were ruled out, meaning Manchester Originals, for example, will play in black – the city’s role in the Industrial Revolution impacting on the choice of shirt colour.
The centrepiece of the Manchester strip is the Originals’ hexagon-shaped logo, which represents a bolt from the city’s industrial past, and a beehive – a reference to Manchester’s worker bee symbol.
Designers have also created a new alphabet with letters made from notable Manchester landmarks and symbols which will be used in posters and advertising around the team.
Elsewhere, Birmingham Phoenix will play in orange, a colour selected as a mix of two local flags – the yellow of the West Midlands and the red and yellow of the city of Birmingham.
It also incorporates the chevrons of the city flag in the design of the shirt while Birmingham batsmen will wear Indian Premier League-style gold helmets, an attempt to appeal to a South Asian audience – another key aim of The Hundred.
Step three: Pick your players
But what are team names and kits without players?
One of the final steps before the tournament begins next summer – it will run in the school holidays from 17 July to 16 August 2020 – is Sunday’s men’s player draft.
Each team has so far selected one England red-ball contracted player and two local icons, and they will fill up the remaining places in the 15-man squads in a televised draft in London.
Many of the world’s leading players are available, including Chris Gayle, Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc who have all set their reserve price at the maximum £125,000. Each team will take it in turns to select with all squads to contain two players in each of the following pay brackets: £125,000, £100,000, £75,000, £60,000, £50,000, £40,000 and £30,000.
Former England opener Marcus Trescothick has been working with Welsh Fire, alongside head coach Gary Kirsten, to help identify potential signings and will be at the event on Sunday.
“I think the pitches will be fairly decent and made for entertaining cricket,” the former Somerset batsman said.
“The basis of it will be similar to what T20 cricket looks like already but it is then about trying to think quickly on your feet.”
Trescothick said he expects all teams to need a “mystery spinner”, a “high-class all-rounder”, “a couple of very good fast bowlers” and “very good top order players”, with Welsh Fire having already secured England’s Jonny Bairstow, Somerset’s Tom Banton and Glamorgan’s Colin Ingram – all of whom play at the top of the order.
With those picks in mind, Welsh Fire will focus on other areas in Sunday’s draft.
“We are not going to go into the draft looking for two openers,” Trescothick said. “We would be silly to.
“We will try to pick out certain people we have identified that will be in key positions in the Hundred.”
There is a difference of opinion on how the tournament will play out, however, with experienced franchise cricket coach Trent Woodhill predicting more traditional players and skillsets will come to the fore.
“I think this competition will redress the balance between bat and ball,” said Woodhill, a high-performance consultant for The Hundred.
“The format lets players bowl 10 balls in a row and that will allow bowlers to get on top and stay on top, so batsmen such as Kane Williamson, Steve Smith and Joe Root are going to be pivotal.
“Equally, opening bowlers who swing the ball – the likes of David Willey, Mitchell Starc and Mohammad Amir – will be successful.”
Step four: Turning a group of players into a team
The job is far from done post-draft, however. How do you get 15 players who have never played together to mould into a team and buy into making their new franchiser a success on the pitch?
Oval Invincibles women’s head coach Lydia Greenway says that “blank canvas” is “really exciting”.
“I am very clear on the people I want involved and the type of players as well,” the former England batter said.
“What I hope happens is that whatever cultures are built, they are the same for the men’s and the women’s teams.
“Hopefully it is not just a women’s team feeding off a men’s team or a men’s team feeding off a women’s team. It is a joint up approach and you try to present yourself in a way that that reflects the people you have involved.”
|Players selected so far|
|Team||Men’s players||Women’s players|
|Birmingham Phoenix||Chris Woakes, Moeen Ali, Pat Brown||Amy Jones, Kirstie Gordon|
|London Spirit||Rory Burns, Dan Lawrence, Eoin Morgan||Heather Knight, Freya Davies|
|Manchester Originals||Jos Buttler, Saqib Mahmood, Matt Parkinson||Kate Cross, Sophie Ecclestone|
|Northern Superchargers||Ben Stokes, Adil Rashid, David Willey||Lauren Winfield, Linsey Smith|
|Oval Invincibles||Sam Curran, Tom Curran, Jason Roy||Laura Marsh, Fran Wilson|
|Southern Brave||Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, James Vince||Anya Shrubsole, Danni Wyatt|
|Trent Rockets||Joe Root, Harry Gurney, Alex Hales||Nat Sciver, Katherine Brunt|
|Welsh Fire||Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Colin Ingram||Katie George, Bryony Smith|
The draft will be streamed on the BBC Sport website and accompanied by a complementary live text commentary on Sunday from 18:00 BST.
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