The Hundred could be WRITTEN OFF with bombshell talks taking place about turning the divisive league into a Twenty20 event… as far as the ECB is concerned, 100-ball cricket is still only played in the UK
- Discussions have begun to make the Men’s Hundred a T20 event
- Sky’s recent deal was signed with the expectation that Hundred would still be around
- The ECB is concerned about 100-ball cricket as T20 continues to expand
Informal discussions have begun about turning the Men’s Hundred into a Twenty20 competition as English cricket grapples with the sport’s rapidly changing landscape.
Talks are at an early stage and sensitivities are high due to the money invested by Sky Sports, the English game’s main broadcast partner.
Sky last year extended their deal with the ECB – reportedly worth £220m a year – until 2028, expecting the Hundred to still be around.
But Mail sports understands the ECB’s concern that 100-ball cricket is still only played in the UK as the competition approaches its third summer.
T20 cricket, on the other hand, continues to expand, with Major League Cricket set to start in the US this summer, Saudi Arabia looking to start its own league and rumors of tailor-made 20-over contracts for an international army of freelance players growing.
Discussions have begun about turning the Hundred into a T20 league (Lewis Gregory of the Trent Rockets suggested he lift the trophy after winning the tournament last year)
The ECB is concerned that 100-ball cricket is still only played in the UK
Sky extended the deal with the ECB until 2028, believing the Hundred would still be around
For 2025 there is unlikely to be a change to the men’s Hundred – the highly successful women’s format would remain untouched – but one option is to invite the National Counties (formerly the Minor Counties) to join the 18 first-class teams in an extensive competition aimed at providing promising cricketers with a path to the professional game.
The T20 Blast could then become a two-league affair, with promotion and relegation.
But no change would be possible without consensus among the first-class provinces, and the ECB remains open to ideas on how best to shape the summer.
A district administrator said, “It takes sober heads to think about it, but it has to be done quickly.”
The highly successful women’s format would remain unaffected (photo: Deen van Niekerk celebrates with the trophy after the Oval Invincibles won back in 2021)
ECB Chairman Richard Thompson suggested last year that the board was open to the idea of handing over the Hundred to private investors, citing the sale of IPL franchise Lucknow Giants for $930 million.
But the failure of other countries to take up 100-ball cricket has led to a belief among English administrators that the home summer should not be bought at any price.
Earlier this month, a report by Worcestershire chairman Fanos Hira, a chartered accountant, claimed that the Hundred had lost £9m in two years – a figure that did not include the £25m paid by the ECB to the counties and MCC to support competition.
The ECB claims it made a profit of £11.8 million.