Cricket’s newest format makes its debut this summer in England. The Hundred is a 100-ball cricket competition that will feature some of the biggest names across world cricket. Eight teams, branded across eight cities, will have women’s and men’s teams fighting for the ultimate glory over a period of five weeks.
The tournament starts on 21st July, with eight teams competing. The teams are as follows –
– Birmingham Phoenix
– London Spirit
– Manchester Originals
– Northern Superchargers
– Oval Invincibles
– Southern Brave
– Trent Rockets
– Welsh Fire
Each squad will consist of 15 players with a maximum of three overseas players. With the likes of Jos Buttler, Harmanpreet Kaur, Faf du Plessis, Ben Stokes, Shafali Verma, Joe Root, Nat Sciver, Heather Knight and Smriti Mandhana amongst the many stars who will be taking part in the tournament, it is sure to attract eyeballs from all around the world.
The tournament is scheduled to have 32 matches in the both the men’s and women’s leagues, with each team playing four home and four away games. The top three teams of the league will then proceed to the playoffs which will eventually decide the champion, who will get direct entry to the finals by virtue of finishing top of the league. The second and third teams will meet in a semi-final where the winner will head to the final.
The tournament was conceived back in April 2018, when the England and Wales Cricket Board announced their plans for a 100-ball cricket format. Although since the first announcement, there have been a few changes in the rules. While the initial plan included having one 10-ball over and removal of the LBW rule, these changes were revised to the current format, which was confirmed back in February 2019. Although the pandemic postponed the arrival of The Hundred, which was originally scheduled to start in 2020, it seems like it’s finally time to embrace cricket’s latest format.
The major motive behind this tournament is to attract the younger crowds to the game, with the tournament specially taking place during the English school summer holidays. In an age where our attention span keeps reducing by the day, The Hundred is ready to shake things up a bit and try reigniting that spark in the game. The matches will last between two to two-and-a-half hours in what is set to be an exciting new format.
The format for the Hundred
– 100 balls per innings
– A change of ends after 10 balls
– Bowlers can either bowl 5 or 10 consecutive balls
– Bowlers can bowl a maximum of 20 balls in a game
– Two fielders outside the 30-yard circle in the power play
– Each power play lasts for 25 balls
– The bowling side will get strategic timeouts of two and a half minutes
– Teams can call for time-outs, just like in the IPL.
Will it be as successful as T20s? Will it lead to the end of Test cricket? Will batters go on the attack from ball one? How will the bowlers adapt to such a short format? Can anyone score a century in this format? What is a good score? All the questions have been asked and will be asked throughout the tournament and none of them have a definite answer yet. There are many questions with so many unknowns, but at the end of the day – this is also just cricket, albeit with a twist.
The Hundred will also bring some of that local rivalry back to England with respect to cricket, as fans will see Manchester Originals take on Northern Superchargers in the battle of north’s supremacy, while London Spirit and Oval Invincibles will fight out for the pride of London. The Hundred, like the Indian Premier League, also brings entertainment to the game. With live music performed by the likes of Becky Hill, Everything Everything and Jake Bugg amongst others who will be present during the matches, the tournament has an additional draw.
Doubts were raised initially when a new format was proposed, especially switching from the established T20 format. But the ECB have gone ahead with it and only time will tell where The Hundred will take the game. Till then, we should embrace and give the newest format a chance. After all, it is evolution that keeps us going.