The ECB’s new eight-team domestic competition will be played in a new 100-ball format.

The new form of cricket, beginning in 2020, will amount to 15 six-ball overs per side with an additional 10 balls to be bowled as part of a “fresh tactical dimension”.

The ECB said the innovative and controversial plan was designed to attract a wider audience, promote the game and offer clear differentiation from other competitions, such as the T20 Blast, played by the traditional county teams.

ECB CEO Tom Harrison said: “This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game.

“Our game has a history of innovation and we have a duty to look for future growth for the health and sustainability of the whole game.

ECB chief commercial officer Sanjay Patel, who is MD for the new competition, said: “This is 100-ball cricket, a simple approach to reach a new generation. Based on 15 traditional six-ball overs, the other 10 balls will add a fresh tactical dimension.

“Crucially, this will also help differentiate this competition from Vitality Blast and other T20 competitions worldwide, maintaining our game’s history of successful innovation.

The new competition, and its brand new team identities, will be aligned for both men’s and women’s cricket, as in Australia’s Big Bash, meaning the current women’s T20 Super League will be replaced from 2020.

ECB director of women’s cricket Clare Connor said: “Kia Super League has had a huge impact on participation, player development and the profile of our game. It was a big investment and a bold decision by the board and paved the way for this next stage of growth.

“To build the women’s and men’s competitions and identities together, side by side, is a prospect that few sports ever have and will give us greater reach, scale and prominence.

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“It will attract more women and girls to the game, ensure that cricket reaches and entertains more families and give our players an exciting stage upon which to display their talent.”

Responding to the surprise announcement on Twitter, not everyone was immediately enthusiastic. But the ECB have been keen to allude to the success of their controversial introduction of 20-over cricket in 2003.