The future of English cricket up for grabs at the launch of The Hundred | Cricket News

LONDON: English cricket takes a step into the unknown with the launch of The Hundred on Wednesday, a brand new format of 100 balls per side.
Cricket already has several established professional formats nationally and internationally – first-class matches, which include five-day tests, 50 overs per side, one-day matches and Twenty20.
But even though Twenty20 was launched as a professional sport in England, England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) are convinced that an even shorter format is needed to attract a new, younger and more diverse audience to the ethnically.
The Hundred do away with the traditional six-ball, although former England captain Michael Vaughan tweeted it: “A reminder that the Hundred will be just a game of cricket .. New rules .. A few fewer deliveries .. but the best players. playing against the best .. !!! What’s not to like .. It’s only cricket .. I don’t get all the hate. ”
But rather than the format, it’s the potential spillover effects of the Hundred that worry many within English cricket.
Rather than building on the current 18-county setup, the Hundred will feature eight specially created franchise teams, all of which are made up of male and female teams.
Indeed, a tournament which one critic has described as “an attempt to reduce the number of counties in a stealth way”, will begin with an independent women’s match, between the Oval Invincibles and the Manchester Originals at the Oval in south London.
The Hundred was scheduled to start in 2020 but its launch was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic.
And with Covid-19 still a factor, many big foreign players the ECB had hoped to participate in have pulled out, along with Australians David Warner and Glenn Maxwell, New Zealander Kane Williamson, South African Kagiso Rabada and Pakistani Shaheen Shah Afridi absent from the men’s event and Australians Meg Lanning, Ellyse Perry and Alyssa Healy no longer participate in the women’s competition.
Derbyshire recently had to call off their last two games in the popular T20 Blast because the pandemic meant they couldn’t field a strong enough XI.
And with several first-choice players now being diverted to the Hundreds as the existing county program continues, there are fears that another epidemic could wreak havoc on the schedule.
The ECB was accused of being patronizing when it said the Hundred was targeting “moms and kids”, the inference being cricket was too complicated for them to understand.
But having used most of their £ 70million ($ 96million) reserves to market the Hundred, the ECB arguably can’t afford to fail.
Some matches will be broadcast on terrestrial television, with cricket largely missing from free UK coverage since the ashes of 2005 – although this is an ECB decision.
Nonetheless, ECB Managing Director Tom Harrison is confident that the Hundred will generate the income and profile essential to the survival of English cricket.
“Before you assess what the Hundred brought with it, you need to assess what might have happened if we hadn’t had it,” he said. “You have to see the other side of the coin.
“It’s a scary environment, actually. It’s not free TV and it’s a huge investment in the game that we wouldn’t be able to make.”
He added: “We just have to make sure that, always in the back of our minds, the health of our sport depends on these two things in a very important way.
“Anything we can do to balance this huge addiction to keep us safe as a sport, to continue to invest in the things we love – county cricket, trial cricket, international cricket, championship foursome cricket days, having 450 pros playing men’s cricket – they are absolutely essential to our long term survival.
“The Hundred is absolutely immersed in this strategy to achieve all of these things.”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *