It is back, the competition many thought would have eroded since the inception of The Hundred. The T20 Vitality Blast competition gets underway tomorrow with all eyes pointing towards the traditional finals day at Edgbaston.
It is an Ashes year, it is a one-day World Cup year and it is the year of the third edition of The Hundred, so just what is keeping eyes on the Twenty20 competition? Here are four things to look out for this season.
As with many global T20 competitions, overseas stars are often the first names fans look for on team sheets.
In this year’s competition the likes of Australia’s Ben McDermott (Hampshire) and Sean Abbott (Sussex), New Zealander Colin Munro and Pakistan’s Shadab Khan (Sussex) and Shaheen Shah Afridi (Nottinghamshire).
Given this summer is a busy one in the world of cricket, the roster of names inside the tournament is impressive.
T20 Vitality Blast schedule
Derbyshire open up round one on Saturday against Lancashire Lighting in an Edgbaston double header alongside Birmingham Bears and Yorkshire Vikings.
Northamptonshire host Worcestersire on Wednesday while Kent play Gloucestershire and Somerset host champions Hampshire.
On Thursday Surrey travel over the river to Middlesex and Leicestershire host Lancashire.
Champions to go back-to-back?
Hampshire are the defending champions having beaten Lancashire Lighting last year by just one run and they’ll be hoping to go back-to-back.
The Hawks have bolstered their roster with McDermott and fellow countryman Nathan Ellis while boasting the likes of James Vince and Benny Howell.
They will face challenges in their group with the likes of Surrey, Essex and Kent but as defending champions they have a reputation to live up to.
You never really know how T20 matches are going to go, and in the past teams who have been written off early on have gone on to make the quarter-finals.
In the odds market, you can get Middlesex, Leicestershire, Gloucestershire and Glamorgan at 33/1, while Londoners Surrey are favourites to secure the title.
Gloucestershire blow hot and cold but have recently made the finals while Middlesex are former winners.
Leicestershire are three-time winners and Glamorgan have big hitters across the park.
Betfair are offering Somerset at 7/1 as favourites with Lancashire, Surrey, Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire and Hampshire in behind at 8/1.
Selected T20 Blast overseas players
Derbyshire – Zaman Khan (PAK)
Durham – Tristan Stubbs (RSA)
Essex – Daniel Sams (AUS)
Hampshire – Ben McDermott (AUS + Nathan Ellis (AUS)
Kent – Kane Richardson (AUS)
Leicestershire – Naveen-ul-Haq (AFG)
Northamptonshire – Chris Lynn (AUS) + AJ Tye (AUS)
Nottinghamshire – Colin Munro (NZL) + Shaheen Afridi (PAK
Somerset – Matt Henry (NZL) + Peter Siddle (AUS)
Surrey – Sean Abbott (AUS) + Sunil Narine (WI)
Sussex – Shadab Khan (PAK)+ Nathan McAndrew (AUS)
Bears – Glenn Maxwell (AUS)
Worcestershire – Michael Bracewell (NL)
Yorkshire – David Wiese (NAM)