The ECB hopes the Hundred will try to open up the sport to the masses

No ‘overs’, lots of music and even some cricket… the ECB hopes the Hundred will try to open up the sport 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 match on the same day, back to back
  • ‘Bats’ are now ‘shod’ in a move towards more gender-neutral terms

It is the ECB’s attempt to bring a new audience to cricket.

But no ordinary cricket, which is supposedly too complicated. Too long and too slow, with too little ‘entertainment’. The Hundred is much better and will open up the sport to the masses – or so the organizers hope.

JAMES SHARPE explains everything.

‘Bats’ are now ‘shod’ in a move towards more gender-neutral terms

When does it start?

The Hundred kicks off 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 next day. Both finals will be played at Lord’s on August 21.

What are the new rules?

One hundred balls per turn. Win the most runs. simple. Overs are a thing of the past – now it’s just a bunch of balls. Ten from one side, then 10 from the other, and so on. Bowlers can throw five or ten consecutive balls. Each bowler can deliver up to 20 balls per game. There is a 25-ball power play at the start of each inning, with only two fielders allowed outside the 30-yard circle.

a new language

Referees don’t call ‘over’. They declare “five” after each set of deliveries and hold up a piece of white card. ‘Bats’ are now ‘shod’ in a move towards more gender neutral terms.

The men's and women's teams play the same match on the same day, back to back

The men’s and women’s teams play the same match on the same day, back to back

Exodus of star players

One of the greatest assets of the Hundred was that the best players in the world were on display. However, a large number of star names have dropped out. Fourteen of the 24 foreign men’s players have withdrawn since February, including Kane Williamson, Kagiso Rabada and David Warner. Fifteen have withdrawn from the women’s competition, including Australia’s Ellyse Perry.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 Indian senior men’s players for the competition. So no Virat Kohli. Still, there are all the players from England – for now – and a good number of New Zealanders.

On the clock?

Each game lasts two and a half hours. That’s one of the reasons why innings have been cut from T20’s usual 120 balls.

Much of that time saved will be spent giving the fielding team a strategic two-and-a-half-minute timeout, during which the coach can enter the field and beg his bowlers to stop the field halfway. There are also mandatory 50 second breaks every time they change ends.

No wonder BBC bosses are afraid to stick to their tight-knit TV schedules, especially after some of the trial games ran late. The men’s and women’s teams play the same match on the same day, back-to-back, each with their own airtime slot, so games can’t face each other. If teams fall behind in excess, they are penalized by having one less fielder outside the 30-yard circle.

The Hundred is the ECB's latest attempt to bring a new audience to cricket

The Hundred is the ECB’s latest attempt to bring a new audience to cricket

What happens if it’s a draw?

In the group stage it’s one point apiece, but in the knockouts it’s a ‘Super Five’! If that is also equal, there will be a second. If that is also a tie, the victory goes to the one who finished higher in the groups.

Get ready to party

“Sports and entertainment will collide on a scale never seen before,” the official website of the Hundred reports. If the cricket wasn’t captivating enough, the crowd is treated to live music and a DJ at every match.

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