The Hundred timeline: How the ECB’s new format happened
From extensively ridiculed idea to one of many ECB’s central planks in its technique for rising the sport in England and Wales, the Hundred has been a very long time coming. Right here we glance again on the important milestones alongside the way in which.
It was virtually 5 years in the past that the seeds for the Hundred had been sown – little did we all know it on the time. Late within the 2016 summer time, the first-class counties lastly voted in favour of the ECB’s thought for a brand new city-based competitors, initially conceived as a T20 automobile. Colin Graves, the ECB chairman, stated: “We’ve all been looking at how we can use domestic T20 for an even bigger purpose, especially getting more young people to play. This format was invented here and is successful worldwide. It can excite new fans, attract the best players and fuel the future of the game, on and off the pitch.”
On a winter scouting journey to the Desert Springs resort in Spain, the ECB’s chief business director, Sanjay Patel, first put ahead the thought of 100-ball cricket. Patel gave a presentation to Graves, ECB chief government, Tom Harrison, and England director of cricket, Andrew Strauss, which pitched a shorter, easier sport than T20. “Don’t prejudge it,” he stated, “just go away and have a think.” With a brand new broadcast deal banked, guaranteeing cricket’s return to BBC TV, the board was contemplating a radical transfer.
The 2018 season had barely begun when the ECB went public with its new plan. As a substitute of a T20 match, eight city-based sides would compete in a totally untested format – innings of 100 balls, damaged down into 15 six-ball overs and a 10-ball finale. No, it was not an April idiot. “This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game,” Harrison stated. Strauss later got here in for criticism after suggesting a simplified sport can be geared toward “mums and kids”.
With the ECB establishing a working group to tremendous tune the idea, now referred to as “The Hundred”, varied concepts had been put ahead – together with the abolition of the lbw regulation. Opposition from the Skilled Cricketers’ Affiliation (PCA) led to the abandonment of the 10-ball closing over; as a substitute, a swap to five-ball overs bowled in blocks of ten received favour, the discount in finish modifications serving to to save lots of time. The choice to retain a bowler for 10 consecutive deliveries, if a captain selected to, was additionally mooted.
Pilots of the brand new format had been held at Trent Bridge and Loughborough, permitting gamers to lastly see what they had been moving into. Numerous totally different tweaks to the foundations had been launched throughout the trial days – starting from substitute fielders, tactical timeouts, and Powerplays of differing lengths. The reception from these concerned was broadly optimistic. “I think the emphasis on the ball is really interesting and really important,” Kevin Shine, the ECB’s lead bowling coach, stated. “We’re not thinking of overs, we’re not thinking of an innings. It’s that old cliché: every ball is an event.”
Work continued behind the scenes throughout an Ashes and World Cup summer time, with a deliberate launch in 2020. The eight workforce names – Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Manchester Originals, Northern Superchargers, Oval Invincibles, Southern Courageous, Trent Rockets and Welsh Hearth – had been confirmed, and Take a look at gamers allotted. Later the identical month, the primary sporting draft held within the UK occurred at Sky’s studios in west London; Rashid Khan was the primary participant picked, adopted by Andre Russell and Aaron Finch, because the groups set about choosing 96 gamers from a beginning checklist of 571.
Taking part in situations had been introduced for the Hundred, together with affirmation of a 25-ball Powerplay, one strategic timeout per innings, and the availability for a brand new batter to at all times be on strike, even when the 2 within the center crossed earlier than the dismissal was accomplished.
The Covid-19 pandemic threw the whole 2020 season into disarray. With the prospect of any cricket being pushed again, and the chance of it having to be performed behind closed doorways, the ECB shortly took the choice to postpone the Hundred solely. Dedication to the thought had not wavered, nevertheless, with Harrison describing the case for the match as being “much greater than it was”.
With the participant draft having taken place a yr earlier, the ECB needed to rethink how groups for the 2021 match can be put collectively. Preliminary plans had been to permit 10 gamers to be retained from yr to yr – however within the occasion, males’s groups had been allowed to retain as many as they needed, with a interval for negotiating new offers forward of a mini-draft in early 2021. Gamers within the girls’s groups had been all given the choice to roll-over their contracts.
Fixtures for the competitors are introduced, headlined by the choice to start with a standalone girls’s fixture at The Oval. The second draft was held behind closed doorways this time, with Kieron Pollard and Nicholas Pooran among the many abroad gamers picked up; whereas the appearance of Brexit meant a number of of these anticipating to be concerned utilizing their Kolpak standing in 2020 missed out.
There was nonetheless time for brand spanking new improvements to be floated, with a controversial suggestion that wickets may grow to be ‘outs’, with a purpose to make the sport’s language extra accessible. The thought was shelved quickly after.
Amid uncertainty about journey restrictions attributable to Covid-19, and the necessities for gamers to quarantine, plenty of abroad gamers began to withdraw from their offers. The ladies’s competitors was significantly affected, with all 11 Australia internationals who had initially signed up ultimately pulling out – together with main drawcard Ellyse Perry. Wildcard alternatives, based mostly on kind within the T20 Blast, had been additionally introduced.
Regardless of issues round rising Covid-19 an infection charges, with necessities for self-isolating inflicting cancellations within the Blast and County Championship, Harrison says there will probably be no return to biosecure bubbles for the Hundred. Availability of England males’s Take a look at gamers, initially deliberate for the primary three matches, is unsure. Taking part in situations are finalised, with umpires to carry up a white card between units of “five” (the time period “over” will largely be dropped) from the identical finish; an amended model of Duckworth-Lewis-Stern will probably be used for rain-affected matches.
After the longest of waits, the stage is ready for the ladies of Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals to take the sector on Wednesday night at The Oval.
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