The inaugural season of The Hundred, the ECB’s new eight-team males’s and girls’s tournaments which have been set to start this summer season, has been postponed till 2021 in mild of the Covid-19 pandemic, the ECB confirmed on Thursday (April 30).
The choice shouldn’t be surprising. The ECB, who introduced final week that there shall be no skilled cricket in England and Wales till a minimum of July 1, have beforehand said that their priorities for when cricket resumes are worldwide cricket and the Vitality T20 Blast. Given the narrowing window obtainable, The Hundred was all the time going to be powerful to squeeze in.
An ECB Board assembly was held on Wednesday to particularly talk about the way forward for the brand new tournaments and it was there that the choice to delay the launch was made. The choice of scrapping the competitions fully was dominated out and the ECB will press forward with launching each the boys’s and girls’s variations of The Hundred in 2021.
“In fact right now’s determination is tinged with disappointment with the quantity that has been achieved over the past two years however we do recognise the nation goes by way of one thing unprecedented,” ECB chief govt Tom Harrison advised the BBC. “We shall be again subsequent 12 months that’s the thrilling factor. We’ve got learnt an terrible lot from the method of getting a contest prepared however it’s not attainable for us to ship it.”
The ECB gave three main causes for the choice; the operational challenges confronted round social distancing and international journey, the contradiction between taking part in a contest behind closed doorways that has the said intention of attracting a wider viewers and the issue of making an attempt to ship a brand new event throughout a variety of venues the place employees are at present furloughed.
Regardless of the postponement, there stay a variety of points to resolve, together with whether or not to pay the gamers who have been to be concerned on this 12 months’s competitors and what to do concerning the squads for subsequent 12 months. Harrison confirmed that discussions have been ongoing on these facets however that the competitions will stay kind of in the identical guise as they’d have been this 12 months.
“We’re envisaging it to be as we deliberate it,” he mentioned. “We’ve got a dedication to ship The Hundred in the way in which we got down to ship it this 12 months. We shall be having discussions with gamers who’ve been chosen by way of the draft.
“It’s a good factor to have extra time the place we will construct out among the areas the place we wished extra time to consider issues. We’ve got extra time to check the format and there are many different areas we will now focus that we would not have had the chance of doing.”
There have been stories final week that the ECB Board would take into account whether or not each tournaments must be scrapped fully in mild of the monetary disaster engulfing the sport and the inherent threat concerned in launching a brand new event in a totally new format of the sport. Nevertheless, Harrison believes the case for The Hundred is now stronger than ever.
“The Hundred is a profit-making enterprise for English cricket,” he mentioned. “Its significance is accentuated by way of the loss of a big a part of our summer season. By no means, within the opinion of the ECB Board or most individuals across the recreation, does it dilute the affect of this or significance of it.
“This can be a competitors that’s designed not solely to develop into a industrial powerhouse however develop the viewers of cricket across the nation for younger individuals, for various communities and construct on what have with cricket on this nation.
“That job is has immediately develop into much more necessary. It was already critically necessary and is now extra necessary than that. We’ll competing with much more popping out of the impacts of coronavirus. There shall be plenty of sports activities competing for individuals’s free time. We have to be of their ideas and ensuring we’re as interesting a recreation as we’re as and we have to be going into this very aggressive future.”
Regardless of right now’s announcement, Harrison additionally reiterated the ECB’s long-term dedication to ladies’s cricket. “There is no such thing as a dilution on our dedication to ladies’s cricket,” he mentioned. “We’ve got to make selections we really feel are very tough. It does not dilute the long-term technique to make cricket a gender balanced recreation.
“We’ve got an actual alternative to do this, constructing on the World Cup success in 2017 and the Kia Tremendous League’s success after which the launch of the ladies’s Hundred in keeping with males’s with equal prize cash. None that’s going to alter with the postponement of the Hundred.”