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The Hundred 2023: Five male players to follow

The third edition of The Hundred, England and Wales's popular franchise cricket competition, is nearly upon us.

Last season Oval Invincibles won the women's title, while the men's competition went the way of Trent Rockets, and the best short-format players from across the country are preparing to battle it out again this August.

Ahead of the new season, here is a look at five male players to keep an eye on.

WhatThe Hundred 2023
WhereEngland and Wales
WhenTuesday 1st August - Sunday 27th August 2023
How to watchSky Sports and BBC
OddsTrent Rockets 9/2, Birmingham Phoenix 9/2, Manchester Originals 11/2, Southern Brave 11/2, London Spirit 13/2

Ben Duckett - Birmingham Phoenix

Snapped up in The Hundred draft earlier this year, big-money signing Ben Duckett could be in for a great season with Birmingham Phoenix.

Formerly of Welsh Fire, batter Duckett joins a lineup featuring Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone and he will be hoping he can help Phoenix build on their fourth-placed finish in the 2022 tournament.

Duckett is likely to miss a few matches at the start of the season for Birmingham Phoenix after turning out for England in this summer's Ashes but, when he joins up with the team, he could be devastating.

Duckett has scored more than 200 runs in each of the first two years of The Hundred, contributing 220 runs in eight innings for Welsh Fire last year.

Tom Banton - Northern Superchargers

Tom Banton was another short-format star signed in The Hundred draft earlier this year, putting pen to paper on a deal with Northern Superchargers.

Able to hit the ball 360 degrees, Banton is an explosive and versatile batter, who heads into The Hundred this year fresh from a fine showing in the Twenty20 Blast.

Banton was part of the title-winning Somerset team in this year's T20 Blast, scoring a total of 468 runs in 16 innings during the competition.

In a low-scoring final, opener Banton was his side's second-highest scoring player with 20 and he will be looking to carry that form into his debut season with the Superchargers.

Reece Topley - Northern Superchargers

Injuries have hampered the career of fast bowler Reece Topley but he is looking to make a comeback from his spell on the sidelines in the coming months, starting with a strong performance for Northern Superchargers in The Hundred.

The 29-year-old was supposed to turn out for England at the T20 World Cup in Australia last year, only to injure himself stepping on a boundary marker during a warm-up, meaning he was flown home for ankle surgery.

A shoulder issue then kept him out of the Indian Premier League and it is fair to say it has been a tough year or so for the physically imposing bowler.

If he regains full fitness in The Hundred, Topley could do some serious damage, having shown his class when taking 6-24 in an ODI against India at Lord's last year.

Rehan Ahmed - Southern Brave

Teenager Rehan Ahmed made minimal impact in The Hundred last year, appearing in only five innings and taking just the two wickets in the process.

But the 18-year-old all-rounder could be in for a much bigger season this time around as one of Southern Brave's primary spin bowlers and he is worth keeping an eye on.

Ahmed became the youngest man to play Test cricket for England this year, claiming a five-wicket haul against Pakistan, and he should be full of confidence after being called up to the Ashes squad.

Will Jacks - Oval Invincibles

The T20 Blast can act as a fine indicator of which players will perform during The Hundred and based on that logic, Oval Invincibles ace Will Jacks should be in for a decent 2023 season.

Jacks made a name for himself four years ago when he scored a 25-ball hundred - the fastest known in a match between professional teams - while he also dazzled with his unbeaten knock of 108 against Southern Brave in 2022.

Since then, he has gone from strength to strength in the Blast - scoring 563 runs in 16 innings for Surrey, who made Finals Day before losing to Somerset in the last four.

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