The Hundred will finally kick off on 21 July after various controversies and abruptions. It all started in 2016 when ECB firstly proposed the new T20 competition to PCA and MCC. After multiple discussions with Counties and PCA, ECB came up with the idea of the hundred ball tournament. The main reason behind the new competition format was to attract a new audience. Cricket is a popular sport around, but it is far behind global sports like Football in popularity and fan following.
In 2018 ECB announced to the world about this new format. It got support from various players like Joe Root, Eoin Morgan but was also criticized by players like Virat Kohli. The Hundred can now be the game changer in cricket’s history. Cricket in the Olympics is a long-standing debate, and the inception of Hundred can help this sport come to Olympics.
Why The Hundred?
The most common question about The Hundred is why a new format is needed ?. An average Football match takes 90 minutes, and one inning of a T20 match takes 100-120 minutes. Football is finished when a cricket T20 game is at the halfway mark. The main reason behind the less popularity of cricket is the long duration of the game. In a fast-moving era, who would sit for 3-4 hours to see the result of a match.
|Matches||Viewership in the UK|
|IPL Match CSK vs MI||90,000|
|EPL Match Arsenal vs Leicester||140,000|
The main aim behind the Hundred is to attract a new audience and also commercialize the game. There are arguably only 4-5 international teams who are strong in the current scenario while other teams are weak. Cricket needs innovation to make it more popular among the audience.
The Hundred is a whole concept introduced by ECB. They tried to innovate the game by keeping basic rules intact. As the name suggests, the game will be of hundred balls only, but ECB introduces various aspects and regulations to make it more fascinating for the crowd. Let’s see the new exciting rules of The Hundred.
- 100 balls per innings.
- Change of ends after 10 balls.
- Bowlers can bowl consecutive 5 or 10 balls.
- Each bowler can maximum ball 20 balls.
- Each bowling team gets strategic time out of 150 seconds.
- Powerplay of 25-balls.
- Two fielders outside a 30-yard circle in the powerplay.
ECB has tried its best to make this tournament exciting for fans. They have received both criticism and praise for changing the old rules of cricket. Let’s see how the tournament will unfold and the reaction of the public.
Roadblocks and Controversies
#1. Counties Protest
England’s cricket structure is based on the county cricket system. Counties are like how state boards act in Indian cricket. In 2017, ECB presented an idea for a new T20 city-based competition to Counties with the promise of £1.3m per year. All Counties accepted the proposal except Essex, Middlesex, and Kent, who opposed the idea citing home-ground issues and concerns over the reduced number of sides in the competition. However, the competition idea still went ahead and is to be launched on 21 July.
#2. Covid Delay
The Hundred was scheduled to take place in 2020, but the Covid-19 pandemic came as a roadblock. After Covid-19, many sponsors decided to back out due to uncertainty about the future of the tournament. ECB assured them about the tournament, and after one year delay, The Hundred will finally take place after so many interruptions and delays.
#3. Unavailability of Players
On 20 October 2019, a draft took place to allocate players to 8 teams. Many big players like Steve Smith, Glenn Maxwell, Mitchell Starc, Rashid Khan were part of that draft. These players were allocated to 8 teams in the draft system. After Covid-19, Cricket is taking place in a bio-bubble where players stay at one place. Before The Hundred, many big names pulled out of the tournament, citing bubble fatigue. Teams were left in the middle as signing replacement is not easy given the 14-days quarantine rule. Although now teams are going ahead by finding replacements from T20 Blast and other UK domestic competition players like Josh Inglis and Colin de Grandhomme.
#4. Pay Inequality
Just 2 days before the tournament, another controversy has arisen. The female cricketer has accused ECB of the disparity in pay. Reportedly ECB has rejected requests of compensating part-time female cricketers who will miss regular jobs due to tournaments. The main issue of female cricketers is the difference between the pay scale of male and female cricketers. Many international cricketers like Kate Cross has said highly about inequality in pay scale.
|Male Cricketers||Reportedly earning ₹25 lakh to ₹1 crore|
|Female Cricketers||Reportedly earning ₹4 lakh to ₹15 lakh.|
Is The Hundred is Innovation for just innovation’s sake?
After 4 years of efforts from ECB, The Hundred is finally taking place from 21 July 2021. It has already seen various ups and downs before its inception. The main aim behind a new format is to popularise cricket among the young generation and create a new audience, and The Hundred tournament is looking good at the moment. Despite various controversies and opinions, The Hundred tournament might be the path that can open the way for Cricket in the Olympics and be the future of Modern Cricket. Let’s see how this competition unfolds in the next 5 weeks.