I have had the privilege to play Twenty20 cricket all around the world and was then part of the 10-over T10 format in its infancy.
To now be a part of the The Hundred – the new 100-ball competition – as both a player for Manchester Originals and as an analyst for the BBC, fills me with excitement.
When I was asked to pick my ‘ones to watch’, it would have been easy to go for the likes of Jos Buttler or Ben Stokes.
But I have opted for some left-field choices, those who are not revered as much as their international team-mates, rather than going for cliche superstars.
Phil Salt – Manchester Originals
Phil is an explosive opening batsman whose job is to go out and get the team off to a flier.
I just admire the way he goes about his cricket and I was so pleased to see him get an opportunity with England in the recent series against Pakistan.
It’s a thankless job he’s got, he doesn’t play anchor and just try to bat for a score; he’s fearless and strikes the ball so well.
I’ve seen him in the T20 blast, the Australian Big Bash and now at international level and it’s a testament to his character that he sticks to and tries to implement his style.
Phil always plays with a smile on his face, whether he fails or succeeds. He doesn’t moan or bat for numbers or records, which is so important in the new format where there are unknowns as to what is a good score.
Off the field, he’s a funny guy. Some people may not know he was born in Wales but spent his formative years living in Barbados, which I found out the first time I met him in Australia.
We get on so well, whether that be on the field or at dinner or drinks. He’s light-hearted, doesn’t take himself or life too seriously and is a pleasure to be around.
Lockie Ferguson – Manchester Originals
New Zealand’s Lockie Ferguson has international pedigree and is someone you want in your team, and fortunately for me – like Phil – he will be on my side in The Hundred.
He joins the Originals as a like-for-like replacement for South Africa’s Kagiso Rabada who had to pull out of the tournament.
Lockie has come on leap and bounds over the last couple of years. When he burst onto the scene he was raw and fast but now he has found a way to use his pace as a weapon.
I rubbed shoulders with Lockie at Kolkata Knight Riders in the Indian Premier League and have seen how hard he bowls a ball and how he is always looking to learn.
It’s not about bowling every ball at 90 miles per hour but he has become a lot faster and uses his slower ball a lot better. He can also nail a really good wide yorker.
The Hundred will encourage players to show off their personalities and Lockie is a character with unique sense of humour which will benefit the team’s performance.
As cricketers when you’re in an environment to express yourself, it really takes the shackles off.
When we were kids in the street we just had a laugh, enjoyed the game and had a passion and love for it but when it becomes a job sometimes you play for your place or a contract.
The best franchises and teams are the ones who allow you remember how it was to play like a kid in the street so you rekindle that passion and love.
Glenn Phillips – Welsh Fire
Keep wicket, bat, bowl – Glenn Phillips can do everything and has a hunger for the game which I haven’t seen in many, if any, cricketers.
I played with him last year in Caribbean Premier League and whenever I was in the gym, I saw him in the gym, every time I was in the tennis court, I’d see him there.
He was always trying something new and even tried to bat left-handed in one of the practices.
Once he became the auxiliary wicketkeeper and then took the ball to bowl off-spin, I was like what are you doing?
It’s tough to break into the brilliant New Zealand team, which he has done, and then for Gloucestershire he’s performed with bat, ball and in the field.
He will only play the first four games before Kieron Pollard arrives at Welsh Fire but it’s definitely enough time to make his mark; sometimes all you need is one game.
He might take a fantastic catch, a direct hit run out – he will pull something out the bag.
Jake Lintott – Southern Brave
Jake Lintott is a name you may not have heard but he is a player who I believe can have a massive impact in The Hundred.
I think of him as the Jamie Vardy of cricket.
Much like the Leicester City footballer, Jake played at the lower levels and had to fight to make his way up the leagues and into professional sport.
Jake is a left-arm wrist spinner, not a common bowler you’d find which makes him a real challenge to face.
He’s 28 and this year was his first full season in the domestic T20 Blast.
I think The Hundred will be a good platform to show the rest of the country what the Warwickshire boys have seen first hand, and his inexperience could play to his strength.
Guys like him have had to work hard and those are the ones who appreciate the struggle a lot more.
When they do get the chance, they snap your hand off for the opportunity because they have had to work hard to get to the level that others may have taken for granted.
Yes, he’s a wildcard but what is also exciting for him is that Southern Brave have a plethora of quality bowling, the likes of Jofra Archer, Chris Jordan, Tymal Mills and Danny Briggs.
It means he won’t be the focal point and asked too much of, he just has to come in, put in a shift, collect some wickets and make a name for himself until he becomes the main man in a couple of years.
As a spinner you can play up to 38 so he probably has 10 years in the game; he could go on to become a Hundred legend.
Saqib Mahmood – Oval Invincibles
My last choice was difficult, but I am going with the talented seamer Saqib Mahmood.
He is another player who took his opportunity with the reshuffled England team against Pakistan and was named player of the series after taking nine wickets in three ODIs.
I first saw Saqib in the PSL. I saw his work-rate and the way he talks about cricket shows he has a genuine love for the game.
He seems a real genuine person and he loves chatting about fast bowling and the nuances that go with it.
He will have eyes on him after the ODI series and big performances in the Hundred will keep his name on people’s lips.
There is talk of him potentially succeeding Stuart Broad in the national team, I don’t know him well enough to say whether he could handle the pressure or not but someone he looks up to is Chris Jordan, who I know very well.
If there is any mentor you want in the game, it’s Chris; I also sometimes lean on him for knowledge and advice.
If Saqib can stay close to him, he can develop into a nice human being off the field and be ready for any challenges or expectations laid on him.
He can forge a beautiful career for himself and has the world at his feet.
Carlos Brathwaite was speaking to BBC Sport’s Kal Sajad.