The Hundred (cricket)
|Administrator||England and Wales Cricket Board|
|Tournament format||Round-robin league and Playoffs|
|Number of teams||8 (women's)|
|Current champion||Oval Invincibles (women's) (1st title)|
Southern Brave (men's) (1st title)
|Most successful||Oval Invincibles (women's) (1 title)|
Southern Brave (men's) (1 title)
The Hundred is a professional franchise 100-ball cricket tournament involving eight mens' and eight women's teams located in major cities across England and Wales. The tournament is run by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) and took place for the first time in July and August 2021.
The format was invented to attract younger and more diverse crowds to watch cricket, with the expectation that the shorter format will mean each match lasts around two-and-a-half hours. The BBC showed free-to-air broadcasts of the competition, while all of the women's matches and some of the men's matches were available to stream for free on Sky Sports' YouTube channel.
The tournament gave equal weight to both men's and women's sides, with almost all the matches taking place as back-to-back double-headers at the same venue on the same day. One ticket gave access to both the men's and women's games, while men and women shared the same prize money.
A new city-based cricket Twenty20 competition similar to Indian Premier League was first proposed by the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) in September 2016. Following early discussions between the 18 first-class counties, the Professional Cricketers' Association (PCA) and the Marylebone Cricket Club (MCC) they voted 16–3 in favour of developing the competition. On 26 April 2017, members of the ECB voted by 38-3 to push ahead with the new competition.
The idea of switching the competition from the established Twenty20 format to an entirely new type of cricket was first proposed by Sanjay Patel, the ECB's chief commercial officer, in a private October 2017 meeting with senior cricket officials. He argued that the hundred ball format would be simpler to understand for new audiences that the competition wants to attract.
England's current Test captain, Joe Root, welcomed the ECB's plans, believing it would attract a completely new audience to the game. ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan expressed a similar opinion. Former T20 captain Stuart Broad said he was hugely optimistic about the new format. Michael Vaughan echoed Broad's comments, believing that it would be an appealing concept to broadcasters, and Michael Atherton stated that while a T20 match was rarely completed in a three-hour window, this can be achieved with the Hundred.
Former England player and Northern Superchargers head coach Dani Hazell stated that the tournament would help with investment into the women’s regional structure and the tournament would be an important learning experience for domestic players.
The format of the game is:
- 100 balls per innings
- A change of ends after 10 balls
- Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls
- Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game
- Each bowling side gets a strategic time-out of up to two and a half minutes
- A 25-ball powerplay start for each team
- Two fielders are allowed outside the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay
- Teams will be able to call time-outs, as has been the case in the IPL since 2009
- The non-striker must return to their original end after a caught dismissal
- No-balls are worth two runs and a free hit
Eight city-based teams competed for the first title over a month between 21 July and 21 August 2021, ensuring that the competition took place during the school summer holidays. Aside from the opening two fixtures featuring the Oval Invincibles vs the Manchester Originals, all men's and women's matches were held on the same day at the same grounds.
In total there were 32 matches in the league. Each team played four matches at home and four matches away, This will include one match against every other side and then a second bonus match against their nearest regional rivals.
Once the league table was settled the top three team competed in playoffs to decide the ultimate champion. The second and third teams met in a semi-final, played at the Oval. The winner of the semi-final met the team that finished top of the league in the final at Lord's, where they competed to be crowned champions.
The decision to create an entirely new format of cricket, with teams based in just seven major cities, has split opinion between traditionalists who favour the historic county cricket structure and those who wish to see change.
Some current England players have been positive about the Hundred. England's current Test captain, Joe Root, welcomed the ECB's plans, believing it would attract a completely new audience to the game. ODI and T20 captain Eoin Morgan expressed a similar opinion. Former T20 captain Stuart Broad said he was hugely optimistic about the new format. Michael Vaughan echoed Broad's comments, believing that it would be an appealing concept to broadcasters, and Michael Atherton stated while a T20 match was rarely completed in a three-hour window, this can be achieved with the Hundred.
However, former MCC chief Keith Bradshaw said he hoped the 100-ball tournament would not be "innovation for innovation's sake", and voiced his concern that the new format would mean that the ECB could not exploit the T20 boom. The England and Wales Professional Cricketers' Association announced that, overall, players were "open-minded" about the tournament. India captain Virat Kohli cited concerns about the commercialisation of cricket and was not entirely in favour of the new version of the game.
Social media reaction has also been split. During the player draft on the 20 October 2019, the Twitter hashtag "#OpposeThe100" began trending, with a vocal section of cricket fans dismayed at the format of the competition, particularly fans of counties whose home grounds are not among the eight used by city franchises. Wisden noted that the response on Twitter and Facebook "has usually been cutting" but there has been less negativity on Instagram which is "mainly used by a younger age group".
Women cricketers have been particularly enthusiastic about the new format and the decision to run both competitions in parallel, with the same prize money, allowing many to turn professional for the first time.
At the conclusion of the inaugural season, it was revealed that 55% of tickets were bought by people who had never bought one before, and that several records were set with regards to television viewing and match attendance figures, particularly for the women's matches. Former England women's captain Charlotte Edwards said that the tournament had "single-handedly changed women’s cricket in this country".
Before the eight teams were confirmed, it was reported that they would carry a different identity from the long-established county teams and would not be named after cities, counties or venues. However, in May 2019, the team names were revealed to be:
This article needs to be updated. The reason given is: Tenses wrong, and only refers to men's cricket- need to add women's squad make-ups too..(August 2021)
Each team was made up of 15 players, of whom a maximum of three could be overseas players. Players were signed using a draft system common in other franchise leagues. Two of the 15 players came from players who performed well in the T20 Blast. At least one England Test player will be signed to each of the eight men's teams competing in The Hundred.
The salary cap per team for the 2021 season is £800,000 ($1.1M). On 3 October 2019, the first players to be allocated to the 2021 season of The Hundred were announced. The draft took place on 20 October 2019 at Sky Studios in Osterley. Sky Sports and BBC Sport showed the event live. However, the postponement of the tournament and Coronavirus restrictions led to a number of changes - especially in regards to overseas players - from the drafted squads.
FanCode acquired exclusive four-year broadcast rights for India.
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