Welcome aboard, ‘laid back’ cricket – this one’s for you. Introducing the sport to a new brand of supporters was high on the priority list when the Cent concept was conceived, but whether you love or hate the new format, a revolution has long been underway.
With an income shortage only exacerbated by the pandemic, the county’s game may seem ripe for change. Yet it is a project imagined five years ago and if it succeeds, it will attract a new wave of spectators hitherto insensitive to snacks and sweaters.
The potential benefits are many. The Hundred seeks to increase participation, promote women’s cricket and diversify the income of the ECB, previously too dependent on international matches.
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The danger in all of this, of course, is that a new set of rules leads to confusion. So if you’re blinded by the dazzling crisper ads or have trouble counting to six, some of the new regulations are worth taking note of.
Nothing like the overs
The party line is that cricket changes, but it stays the same. The fundamentals of the game will remain intact – whoever scores the most points wins – with the biggest difference being that each team only gets 100 balls per set (20 less than in a T20). This means it will all happen within a two and a half hour window before everyone can go home.
Instead of counting the overs, the 100 balls will be counted one by one on the scoreboard. So in theory there are no “overs” at all. The traditional six ball has been removed and there will now be 10 sets of 10 balls – and the bowler will still switch sides after each set.
However, a team captain can allow his bowler to throw five or 10 balls in a row. A white card will be shown by the referee to indicate the halfway point of two sets of five balls on the same side.
Punishments for disrespecting time
End changes should not take longer than 50 seconds and innings should not last longer than 65 minutes.
If a team is too slow to throw their overs, they will be punished by a defensive player moved into the inner circle – as we saw in the T20 Blast.
A new innovation is the “timeout”. The bowling team is granted a time-out of up to two minutes, during which the coach can enter the field of play to discuss tactics with the players. And if it all ends in a draw, a “super five” (just like a super over) will be used as a decision maker.
Emphasis is also placed on non-sexist language. The “drummers” are therefore a thing of the past, replaced by the “drummers” in order to bring together male and female games. As long as you ignore the gender pay gap, anyway… Male contracts are worth between £ 24,000 and £ 100,000, while their female counterparts earn £ 3,600 to £ 15,000.
If you get lost in all of this, videos will be shown inside the pitch and on TV to explain any unclear incidents or complex rules. Also look for the DRS – Decision Review System – which will be used, unlike most domestic crickets in England.
All odds via Betfair
The winner of the hundred men
- Courageous South 9-2
- Trent Rockets 5-1
- Invincible Oval 5-1
- Welsh fire 7-1
- Manchester Originals 11-2
- North Superchargers 11-2
- Spirit of London 7-1
- Birmingham Phoenix 7-1
The eight teams – and where they play
- Spirit of London – Lord
- Invincible ovals – The oval
- Manchester Originals – Old Trafford
- North Superchargers – Headingley
- Birmingham Phoenix – Edgbaston
- Trent Rockets – Trent Bridge
- Welsh Fire – Sophia Gardens
- Southern Brave – The Ageas Bowl
The squads were put together using a draft system – yes, it’s like America! – and each team is entitled to a maximum of three foreign players.
How to watch
- Dates: Wed Jul 21, 2021 – Sat Aug 21, 2021
- TV Channel: Every match will be broadcast live on Sky Sports, with 18 matches (including the two finals) also being broadcast on the BBC, either on BBC Two or via the red button.
And the covid?
Covid has wreaked havoc in the counties season so far, with a number of matches being postponed due to counties struggling to field enough players.
If hundreds of matches are affected by positive tests, the table will automatically switch to a points per match system.
Why is this controversy?
If you listen carefully you should be able to discern the tumult of the traditionalists in English cricket.
The Hundred is accused of damaging the game’s existing formats, in particular the highly regarded T20 Blast and the Royal London One-Day Cup.
England may be the reigning world cricket champion at 50, but many of its biggest stars will no longer play cricket in this form for their country.
There is also concern that by wooing “casual fans” the ECB has alienated itself from existing supporters with decades-long ties to their countries. The counties have been merged to form municipal teams – for example, Birmingham Phoenix is supposed to combine Warwickshire and Worcestershire. It remains to be seen how many are ready to make the trip from Worcester.
Among the target audiences are young parents, who will likely be crossing their fingers that their children can ignore the relentless Hula-Hoops logos and go for a healthier alternative.
Like it or not, he’s here to stay.
Aside from the opening day and the final, the male and female meetups of the same franchise will be on the same date – so the matches below apply to both.
- July 21, Oval Invincibles v Manchester Originals (women), Kia Oval
- July 22, Oval Invincibles v Manchester Originals (men), Kia Oval
- July 23, Birmingham Phoenix v London Spirit, Edgbaston
- July 24, Trent Rockets v Southern Brave, Trent Bridge; Northern Superchargers vs. Welsh Fire, Emerald Headingley
- July 25, London Spirit vs. Oval Invincibles, Lord’s; Manchester Originals v Birmingham Phoenix, Emirates Old Trafford
- July 26, Trent Rockets v Northern Superchargers, Trent Bridge
- July 27, Welsh Fire v Southern Brave, Sophia Gardens
- July 28, Manchester Originals v Northern Superchargers, Emirates Old Trafford
- July 29, London Spirit vs. Trent Rockets, Lord’s
- July 30, Southern Brave v Birmingham Phoenix, Ageas Bowl
- July 31, Welsh Fire v Manchester Originals, Sophia Gardens; Northern Superchargers vs. Oval Invincibles, Emerald Headingley
- August 01, Birmingham Phoenix v Trent Rockets, Edgbaston; London Spirit v Southern Brave, Lord’s
- August 02, Oval Invincibles vs. Welsh Fire, Kia Oval
- August 03, London Spirit v Northern Superchargers, Lord’s
- August 04, Birmingham Phoenix vs. Oval Invincibles, Edgbaston
- August 05, Manchester Originals v Southern Brave, Emirates Old Trafford
- August 06, Welsh Fire v Trent Rockets, Sophia Gardens
- August 07, Southern Brave v Northern Superchargers, Ageas Bowl
- August 08, Oval Invincibles vs. Trent Rockets, Kia Oval
- August 09, Birmingham Phoenix vs. Welsh Fire, Edgbaston
- August 10, Manchester Originals v London Spirit, Emirates Old Trafford
- August 11, Southern Brave v Welsh Fire, Ageas Bowl
- August 12, Northern Superchargers v Manchester Originals, Emerald Headingley
- August 13, Trent Rockets v Birmingham Phoenix, Trent Bridge
- August 14, Oval Invincibles vs. London Spirit, Kia Oval
- August 15, Trent Rockets v Manchester Originals, Trent Bridge
- August 16, Southern Brave v Oval Invincibles, Ageas Bowl
- August 17th, Northern Superchargers v Birmingham Phoenix, Emerald Headingley
- August 18, Welsh Fire v London Spirit, Sophia Gardens
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