The Magnificent Seven

Ok so it may be a little early, but with no major tournaments scheduled beforehand, now seems like as good a time as any to consider who will be the seven players invited to play in next season’s Premier League…

Three of the seven are of course already known, firstly Shaun Murphy who performed so well during the 2009 campaign to capture the title for the first time and end the reign of Ronnie O’Sullivan and as defending champion will be invited back.

Secondly Neil Robertson is also a certainty having won the World Championship this year, as well as 2003 Premier League champion Marco Fu who makes his second consecutive appearance having won the Championship League earlier this year.

While not confirmed, it is surely a certainty that Ronnie O’Sullivan will also be invited back, indeed it would probably commercial suicide for Matchroom Sport not to given his popularity and imperious record in the competiton.

So that leaves us with three places, though of course I have not yet mentioned world number one John Higgins who but for the ongoing investigation following those revelations in the News of The World would also be confirmed. Bearing in mind the fact that he is currently suspended though it is hard to say anything regarding John with any confidence.

Who else is in the frame? Having been so unfortunate to have missed out last season, I would be surprised to see Masters champion Mark Selby overlooked for 2010. It is also likely that there will be an Asian player involved and given the performances of UK Champion Ding Junhui during 2009/10, it is hard to look too far past him.

Could Stephen Hendry miss out for the first time in around two decades? Based on his performances on the table it would be no great surprise but despite his decline he remains one of snooker’s biggest names and one who is likely to bring in the crowds.

Another player who for me should be in contention would be Antrim’s Mark Allen, although having not yet converted his promise into major silverware it may be a year too soon for him. Graeme Dott, Shaun Murphy, Ali Carter and China Open winner Mark Williams would also have reasonable shouts, or what about Steve Davis who recently put himself back into the headlines for his exploits on the table rather than at boardroom level?

I would not expect a decision to be taken soon but I would welcome your views below…