Cricket matches of all sorts of time stretches – from five-day affairs to 10-overs-a-side contests – are already a part of the landscape, internationally and/or domestically, and the next idea is to have 100-ball innings. Somewhat bizarre in theory, but an idea nevertheless.
The plan has come from the ECB. Opinion has been divided, understandably. But not everyone wants to write it off before gauging the public’s reaction.
“There were a lot of disgruntled people around the county circuit, obviously. But I said why not. Why not have another format,” said Jason Roy, the England limited-overs opening batsman, at a panel discussion at the end of the MCC Spirit of Cricket Cowdrey Lecture – delivered by ICC boss David Richardson – on Monday, August 7.
“Especially at the county (level) maybe. The international level, obviously it’s not going to happen. Why not try it out? It’s another bit of show-biz, another element to the game. It’s another string to the bow.”
Richardson, the ICC Chief Executive, is on Roy’s side as far as trying out The Hundred is concerned, but is certain that it’s not yet time to try it out internationally.
“From an international point of view, we’re not looking to have another format. Yet, T20s started off somewhere, in someone’s backyard trialling it. So, who knows, let’s not be too cynical and too quick to write it off,” suggested Richardson.
“At first glance, I just thought it was tinkering with something that was very close to T20 cricket anyway. But let’s give them a chance. Let’s see what happens.”
Sanjay Manjrekar, the former India batsman, echoed the opinion of a large section of the cricket community when he said he wasn’t a big fan of the format that he said is ‘just to create a bit of a stir’, but Roy and Mark Nicholas, the moderator, didn’t agree.
Manjrekar: Not a big fan of that. I just wonder if it’s put just to create a bit of a stir, which we sometimes do in commentary.
Roy: What about T20 then? What was T20 developed for?
Manjrekar: It was making a lot of sense at the time. The timing is the issue with this format. The sport that we play is far too long, seven hours a day, with the over-rates getting slow, it gets even longer. If the format is short …
Nicholas: In the IPL, T20 games are getting longer …
Manjrekar: But it’s from 8pm to 11pm. If the IPL was played from 10am to 2pm, it wouldn’t be a million-dollar industry, forget about a billion. It’s all about timing. Let’s not fool ourselves, we’re not that popular as a sport when you look at other sports in the world. Make it convenient for people to come and watch, at the time that they prefer.
This one, with each innings comprising 15 six-ball overs and one 10-ball over to end with, will continue to be discussed, and debated, that’s for sure.