Introducing: The Hundred
By Rayan Choudhury
The Hundred is a new cricket tournament based in England and Wales in which eight teams from seven Cites compete in a 100-ball competition with both male and female teams but in separate games. The idea behind this is to bring a new younger generation to the sport and making it fast paced and therefore more instant entertainment compared to test matches. Matches will be show free to air on the BBC and on Sky to make sure viewing figures are captured by the many not the few. It is expected women’s and men’s games will be played one after another on the same ground with fans match tickets stretching to both games highlighting how this tournament is reaching out towards gender equality. The tournament will be over 5 weeks in the summer starting in 2021 due to Covid-19 postponement in 2020.
This new franchise tournament will see the worlds best players able to play in this country playing for one of eight brand new city-based teams made especially for this competition. Those teams and their home ground are as follows:
- Birmingham Phoenix (Edgbaston)
- London Spirit (Lord's)
- Manchester Originals (Emirates Old Trafford)
- Northern Superchargers (Emerald Headingley)
- Oval Invincibles (Kia Oval)
- Southern Brave (Ageas Bowl)
- Trent Rockets (Trent Bridge)
- Welsh Fire (Sophia Gardens)
Being a new competition, it has got its own rules but some which are similar, firstly its 100 balls per innings with the winner being the team with the most runs. The side which are fielding switch their ends after 10 balls and it is the captain’s decision if his bowler delivers either five or ten balls in a row, however 20 balls a game is the highest a bowler is allowed to deliver. The biggest unique rule is the introduction of a timeout for each bowling side per game. This is 150 seconds in which the coach of the bowling team can even walk to the middle of the ground and talk with his team directly mid game. These 2 and a half minutes are up to that time and cannot be exceeded, but they can only be used once per game for each bowling team, so no role over of the time. Each team will also have a 25-ball power play allowing 2 fielders outside the 30-yard circle.
The men’s teams are selected via a three-stage process, the first is the England player allocation. This is a player from one of the following categories.
• 1. An England player who was red ball contracted in 2019/20 and will be again in 2020/21 can be retained by their 2020 team.
• 2. An England contracted player in 2019/20, who is not given a contract in 2020/21 can negotiate with their 2020 team for a position in 2021. If no agreement is made, they will be released to The Hundred Draft.
• 3. A player drafted by a team in The Hundred who was not England contracted in 2019/20 but is contracted in 2020/21 can be retained by their team for 2021. However, the team’s other England player must be released to the ‘England pot’
• 4. A player not drafted by a team in The Hundred who was England contracted in 2019/20 but is in 2020/21 will go straight into the ‘England pot’.
If there are eight eligible contracted players, all teams will have one player. If there are more than eight eligible contracted players, some teams will have more than one player. No team will have more than two players and once teams have retained/released players, any teams without an England player need one. They would select a player from the ‘England pot’ until all teams have one player. This would be done in a draw order. If there are more than eight eligible contracted players, a new draw will be made to select the remaining player(s).
Stage 2 is the retention window. In this, teams start with their 2020 squad lists. From this they can negotiate to retain any or all of their men's players for 2021. A maximum of three overseas players are permitted.
The final stage is the draft to fill the gaps in each team. This is a system which is known to work in other franchise leagues. There will be seven rounds to complete each squad. Mid-round, the selection order will reverse. And where a team has already retained a player in that round, their turn will be skipped.
The England men’s central contract players for each club are as follows
• Birmingham Phoenix - Chris Woakes
• London Spirit - Zak Crawley
• Manchester Originals - Jos Buttler
• Northern Superchargers - Ben Stokes
• Oval Invincibles - Sam Curran
• Southern Brave - Jofra Archer
• Trent Rockets - Joe Root
• Welsh Fire - Ollie Pope
So now you know all you need to know about the Hundred it is time for you to decide which new team you will support as the toss for the inaugural games continues to countdown towards a massive summer of sport.