Last summer we saw the ECB postponed the launch of The Hundred to the summer of 2021 due to Covid-19.
The new 100-ball competition will start this July and run through August with the hopes of having sell-out stadiums with new fans and old followers of the sport. The tournament will have eight men’s and women’s sides: Welsh Fire, Birmingham Pheonix, London Spirit, Oval Invincibles, Southern Brave, Northen Supercharges, Trent Rockets, and Manchester Originals.
Back on 20th October 2019, Sky Sports broadcasted “The Draft” the UK cricket’s first-ever player draft. Every year, many cricket fans tune into the IPL and BBL drafts so for the England and Wales to have their own was quite exciting for cricket fans.
So what was the real reason behind postponing the launch?
The whole idea of The Hundred is to get cricket a new audience, this new ‘trendy’ format of the game with very high profile players from afar coming to play for the teams will attract new fans to the much loved old version of the game.
I think Covid-19 had a big financial impact on the launch too, with all these high-profile domestic and international players being drafted into the teams, it comes with a cost and this relies on ticket sales as well as sponsors. KP nuts are the main sponsor and many of their products appear on the players shirts.
There has been a lot of negative comments on social media around the new tournament, including a group of anonymous cricket fans who launched a page called “Oppose The Hundred”
I think that The Hundred is a brilliant idea to attract new fans as well as giving existing fans the opportunity to see international players playing a brand new, fast-paced and exciting version of the game we love at some of the best county grounds around England and Wales.
I hope the tournament does turn out to be as successful as the likes of the IPL and the BBL and takes off and continues to run.
One thing I am a bit disappointed with is the drafting process for this year; teams had the choice to retain some and transfer players from other teams.
This gave teams a real shift up, including my local team, Welsh Fire. The men’s side was a very batting-heavy looking side with Jonny Bairstow, Tom Banton, Steve Smith and Colin Ingram in the originally drafted squad. This was put to Bairstow on the night of the draft when he was asked; “You’re team seems to be very batting-heavy, how do you feel about this?” to which he replied; “If you score enough runs, you don’t have to worry about the bowling.”
Welsh Fire’s women’s team has also managed to get Sarah Taylor to return to the sport after retiring in 2019 due to mental health. It will be great to see her back playing the sport and especially for my team.