Wasim Khan, the chief executive at Leicestershire until the start of this year, has said that the £1.3 million guaranteed for each of the 18 counties by The Hundred is a financial “lifesaver”.
Speaking on the Wisden Cricket Weekly Podcast, Khan put his support behind the 100-ball competition and added that “everyone’s behind it as a game”.
Khan welcomed the cash injection that the ECB had “done brilliantly” to secure a £1.2 billion broadcasting contract, some of which will be split into £1.3 million pots that are distributed to each county every year. “Cricket isn’t sustainable in this country, in terms of county cricket, so therefore this £1.3 million a year is a lifesaver,” said Khan. “This is going to allow money for the counties to run more participation programmes and do more for the women’s and girls’ game. Not just the counties with Test grounds but all the counties as well.”
As well as vocalising his support for The Hundred, Khan believes that the T20 Blast still remains an important competition for counties to bring supporters through the gates. “You’ve got to try and find a way that balances everything, where you can attract the broadcaster and fan to something new but at the same time try and keep the core of what you’re about,” said Khan.
Khan went on to acknowledge that there may be cries from some corners that having the T20 Blast and The Hundred – two competitions that will be very similar in format – is overkill. Khan refuted this assertion. He said: “No, there are different audiences but also different reasons why you need The Hundred and the T20 blast.”
The Hundred is due to start in the summer of 2020 and will consist of eight city-based franchises, fielding both men’s and women’s teams and will take place entirely during a 38-day period of ‘school holidays’, in the hope of attracting fresh, youthful blood to the sport.
Khan also added that cricket faces somewhat of a marketing dilemma when it comes to attracting young people to the game. He said: “You’re constantly trying to sell in the midst of all other attractions that young people have got: football, online games, so many things that take up the time of young people.
“For this reason, you need as many centres as possible. That’s why it’s critical you keep the T20 Blast, you need something for the other 10 counties (those who will not be bases for the eight franchise sides in The Hundred) and T20 can still be used as a catalyst to get youngsters in, to go away and say ‘mum and dad I want to play the game, I want to play cricket’. They’re not going to be inspired by Championship cricket, so having the T20 still there is important.”