No ‘overs’, lots of music, and even some cricket… the ECB hope the Hundred will seek to open the sport up to the masses
- The Hundred is the ECB’s latest attempt to bring a new audience to cricket
- Men’s and women’s teams play the same fixture on the same day, back-to back
- ‘Batsmen’ are now ‘batters’ in a move towards more gender-neutral terms
It’s the ECB’s attempt to bring a new audience to cricket.
But not usual cricket, which is supposedly too complicated. Too long and too slow, with not enough ‘entertainment’. The Hundred is much better and will open the sport up to the masses – or at least that is what the organisers hope.
JAMES SHARPE explains all.
‘Batsmen’ are now ‘batters’ in a move towards more gender-neutral terms
When does it start?
The Hundred launches on July 21 with the first game between the Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals women’s teams at the Oval. The men’s teams play the following day. Both finals will be played at Lord’s on August 21.
What are the new rules?
One hundred balls per innings. Most runs wins. Simples. Overs are a thing of the past — now it’s just a load of balls. Ten from one end, then 10 from the other, and so on. Bowlers can either bowl five or 10 consecutive balls. Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game. There’s a 25-ball power play at the start of each innings, during which only two fielders are allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
A new language
Umpires won’t call ‘over’. They will declare ‘five’ after each set of deliveries and hold up a piece of white card. ‘Batsmen’ are now ‘batters’ in a move towards more gender-neutral terms.
The men’s and women’s teams play the same fixture on the same day, back-to back
Star player exodus
One of the Hundred’s biggest pulls was having the world’s best players on show. However, a host of star names have dropped out. Fourteen of the 24 overseas men’s players have pulled out since February, including Kane Williamson, Kagiso Rabada and David Warner. Fifteen have withdrawn from the women’s competition, including Australia’s Ellyse Perry. And the BCCI refused to release any of the India senior men’s players for the competition. So no Virat Kohli. Still, there’s all the England players — for now — and a host of New Zealanders.
On the clock?
Each game will last two-and-a-half hours. That’s one of the reasons why innings have been cut from the usual 120 balls of T20.
Much of that saved time will be spent giving the fielding team a strategic time-out for two-and-a-half minutes, during which the coach can come on to the field and implore his bowlers to stop banging it in halfway down. There are also mandatory 50-second breaks every time they change ends.
No wonder BBC bosses are anxious about keeping to their tightly-pruned TV schedules, especially after some of the trial games overran. The men’s and women’s teams play the same fixture on the same day, back-to back, each with its own airtime slot so games cannot run into each other. If teams get behind on their over-rate, they will be penalised by having one fewer fielder outside the 30-yard circle.
The Hundred is the ECB’s latest attempt to bring a new audience to cricket
What happens if it’s a tie?
In the group stage it’s a point apiece but in the knockouts it’s a ‘Super Five’! If that’s also tied, there will be a second one. If that’s also tied, the win goes to whoever finished higher in the groups.
Get ready to party
‘Sport and entertainment will collide on a scale never seen before,’ declares the Hundred’s official website. If the cricket were not enthralling enough, crowds will be treated to live music and a DJ at each game.