Why everyone’s talking about The Hundred

The Hundred, English cricket’s new tournament, will make history by becoming the first British sport to hold a player draft.

Launching in July 2020, the 100-ball competition for men and women will be played over five weeks and will feature eight new city-based teams. The Hundred’s first ever men’s player draft will take place on 20 October 2019.

Tom Harrison, the CEO of the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB), said: “The Hundred is an exciting new cricket competition that we hope will grow our wonderful sport even further.

“Fans can enjoy some of the world’s biggest names playing for eight brand new cricket teams across men’s and women’s competitions.

“I’m sure there will be huge anticipation ahead of the first men’s players draft in October.”

What happened?

Following in the footsteps of the Indian Premier League, NFL and NBA, The Hundred’s men’s draft will see squads chosen from a pool of domestic and overseas players.

Starting at 7pm on 20 October, viewers in the United Kingdom will be able to watch the draft live on Sky Sports while the BBC will also have extensive coverage across its platforms.

Details for the women’s competition are yet to be announced.

What was the response?

While the ECB is excited by its new cricketing concept, there has been a lukewarm reaction to the format and the official launch.

The London Evening Standard reports that Surrey have accused the ECB of “bashing” existing forms of cricket and the club also disputes the accuracy of data that has been released.

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It’s also reported in The Daily Telegraph that The Hundred’s unveiling on Wednesday descended into a “farce” over a promotional image used on the official website. 

The launch page of the website originally featured an image taken at a 2017 concert for American rapper Logic in Miami.

Provoking ridicule on social media, the image was rapidly removed and replaced by a picture of a girl wearing a pink sports shirt. That was also taken down because the photo was from a football game. 

The Telegraph’s Nick Hoult wrote: “The England & Wales Cricket Board was twice forced to change the image on its website unveiling the Hundred competition on Wednesday in an embarrassing episode that overshadowed attempts to explain why the game is taking a huge gamble on a radical new format.”

Despite admitting mistakes have been made, ECB chief Harrison says the focus must be on the future growth of the sport. 

He said: “We’ve definitely made mistakes in the build-up but this is about the future of the game. This is about growing cricket.”

The Hundred: how it will work

When will it start?

The new men’s and women’s competition will be played over five weeks from July 2020. The eight city-based teams will have squads formed of domestic and overseas players. Squads are expected to have 15 players, including three from overseas.

How will it work?

Each team will face 100 balls in their innings. Ten-ball overs will mean the bowlers will change ends ten times during the match, instead of 19 times in Twenty20 matches. An individual bowler will be able to deliver either five or ten consecutive balls with a maximum of 20 per game. The Times reports that there will be only one semi-final. The winners of the league will progress straight to the final.

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Where will games be played?

The BBC reported in April that Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham will host games. Lord’s and The Oval in London will host newly-created teams.

How long will matches take?

According to the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) fixtures will be completed in less than 2.5 hours.

Will it be shown on TV?

Yes, from 2020-2024, the BBC and Sky Sports will broadcast live matches from the new men’s and women’s domestic tournaments. Games will start at 2.30pm and 6.30pm with eight games live on the BBC and the rest on Sky Sports.



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