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Birmingham Phoenix have drafted five new players to their squads, including four internationals, ahead of the start of The Hundred.

Hard-hitting New Zealand batter Finn Allen joins up with the men’s team alongside fellow BlackCap and fast bowler Adam Milne. South Africa spin bowler Imran Tahir and 19-year-old Somerset batter Will Smeed complete the men’s team squad with Australia all-rounder and ICC T20 World Cup winner Erin Burns coming into the women’s squad.

The squad changes come as a result of the on-going elbow treatment that BlackCaps batter Kane Williamson is receiving, whilst Pakistan fast bowler Shaheen Afridi and Australia duo Adam Zampa and Ashleigh Gardner have withdrawn from the inaugural tournament because of international commitments.

Warwickshire fast bowler Henry Brookes has also had to withdraw from the Birmingham Phoenix squad due to a left quad and tendon tear.

Whilst missing the first tournament, Birmingham Phoenix have also confirmed that New Zealand skipper Williamson will remain with the squad to support men’s captain Moeen Ali and to mentor the younger members of the squad.

Craig Flindall, General Manager of Birmingham Phoenix, said: “Whilst it’s disappointing that we’re losing players close the tournament for very valid reasons, we’re delighted at the speed in which we have been able to bring together players boasting vast international experience and exciting raw talent in our group of new signings.

“Finn is one of the most exciting batting prospects in the T20 global game and joins us straight from the Vitality Blast. In Adam and Imran we have two bowlers who have played on the biggest stage for several years, whilst Will has made a great impact in his introduction to the Blast.

“Erin is also a great addition to the women’s team, who has been part of a world-cup winning squad and has played a huge amount of cricket in the WBBL.

“As part of our aim to build squads that can challenge in The Hundred year after year, we’re thrilled that Kane is able to remain with us in Birmingham during this first tournament and to pass on all of his knowledge and experience to the players.”

Craig Flindall, Birmingham Phoenix GM

Birmingham Phoenix start The Hundred at Edgbaston on Friday 23 July versus London Spirit, with the women’s team getting underway at 3pm and the men’s team at 6.30pm.

The entire competition, including all women’s and men’s games will be broadcast live on Sky. The Hundred will also be covered extensively across the BBC, including live television coverage of 10 men’s games and multiple live women’s matches, including the women’s opening game and The Hundred Final.

Tickets for The Hundred are great value for money  at £5 for under 16s, with adult tickets starting at £10, and under-fives going free. Aside from the first two games on July 21 and 22, tickets give you the chance to see a women’s and men’s game. Refund policies will be in place should matches be affected by Covid.