Andrew McDonald will immediately set about planning for the men’s Player Draft after he was unveiled as coach of the new Birmingham-based team in The Hundred on Friday.
The 38-year-old is the second coach to be confirmed for the tournament, after Simon Katich was named as the Manchester men’s coach earlier this month, and intends to get the jump on his rivals.
“There’s a huge responsibility to get the draft right because it will set the foundations of the club for years to come in terms of the core of the team,” said McDonald, who coached the Melbourne Renegades to the Big Bash title in the winter.
“If you can get that right from the initial stages then we’ll be ahead of the rest of the teams. We’ve got a great backroom team here and we’re going to be investing time in that.”
The Hundred men’s Player Draft is set to herald the first time a major sporting draft will be staged in the United Kingdom, with Sky Sports set to broadcast the historic event live on October 20.
McDonald will set his plans in motion for draft day over the next three weeks when he will remain in the UK and scout the Vitality Blast.
The players that have a clear schedule at that time of the year want to be nominating to be a part of it. It’s an exciting new format and they get to put their footprint on it.Andrew McDonald
The four-time Australia Test player, who knows English cricket as a former coach and player at Leicestershire, will also work with locally-based assistant coaches Alex Gidman and Jim Troughton, as well as analyst Dan Weston, to piece together their plans.
Former New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori, who completes the coaching set-up at Birmingham, provides further knowledge of international players with both he and McDonald having worked in the Big Bash and Indian Premier League.
In a further sign the club intend to leave no stone unturned Birmingham are set to organise a draft day video link-up for McDonald, who is due to be coaching Victoria in Australia on October 20, which has focused his desire to ensure all plans are firmly in place beforehand.
“Drafts are unpredictable and you are at the mercy of the teams picking in front of you in terms of what players are available,” said McDonald.
“The ability to be flexible within that and to manoeuvre to get a team structure to play the type of cricket you want is critically important.
“We’re discussing how the nuances of the format might determine what sort of players you draft first. We’re not going to give away too much of how we think the game might look like.
“Every team will be discussing how the game will look – will it be similar to T20 or will it change slightly for T20 with the different rules within the game. The five-ball blocks and the option of the 10-ball block at the end may change the way you go about things.”
McDonald expects that he will have plenty of world-class names to pick from come draft day.
“From behind the scenes talking to players at the Renegades and from talk in the IPL, players around the world want to be a part of it,” he said.
“The players that have a clear schedule at that time of the year want to be nominating to be a part of it. It’s an exciting new format and they get to put their footprint on it.
“There’s no set way of playing the Hundred at the moment, it’s not been played, so they get to take it in the direction they want alongside the coaches.
“The players are taking the game forward. The key is to have a coaches that blend with the players in a way that they can be innovative, creative and dynamic – all those words that you associate with this new competition.”
After England’s memorable World Cup victory McDonald believes keeping cricket in the minds of the public will be crucial and expects Edgbaston will provide the perfect experience for fans old and new.
“The World Cup is a shot in the arm for cricket in general – and what a time to launch a new competition on the back of that and capitalise on the potential new audience,” he said.
“The world-class players and in-match entertainment, especially in an atmosphere like Edgbaston which is renowned as one of the best crowds in the world – I think it will be the place to be.
“With only four home games there is a scarcity of product. I think that scarcity is a good thing and when you know it’s world-class cricket I think people will want to make sure they are.”