With the way the summer of 2019 has gone for cricket, now seems like the ideal time to really press home the spotlight that has been shone on the sport in recent months. With this in mind has come The Hundred, a game type which sees teams battle it out over the course of a 100 ball innings each, meaning it is 20 balls shorter than a T20, seeing this become the shortest format of the game.
The salient details of The Hundred are:
-100 balls per innings.
-A change of ends after 10 balls.
-Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls.
-Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per games.
-Each bowling side gets a strategic timeout of up to two and a half minutes.
-A 25-ball powerplay start for each team.
-Two fielders are allowed outside of the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay.
-Teams will be able to call timeouts.
-A simplified scoreboard is also proposed.
-The Hundred draft took place on Sunday, October 20th 2019, with new teams Trent Rockets, Southern Brave, Northern Superchargers, Welsh Fire, Oval Invincibles, Manchester Originals, London Spirit and Birmingham Phoenix all picking players to represent them, with the squads as follows:
Image courtesy of Sky SportsThe draw was something that did have one or two teething problems but, as the Indian Premier League and cricket can attest to, while new formats and styles may not always start smoothly, a move towards the new is something that has massively increased the viewership and popularity of the sport. Indeed, this popularity will surely only be enhanced by a new format that cuts back even further on the available deliveries in the T20 format, meaning batsmen have to go big quicker, which will result in big shots and scattered stumps.
The Big Players
Like the IPL, the Hundred Draft has put home grown talent to the fore in the competition with a huge number of players utilised across the eight sides. While some will question why more home grown talent was not used by the teams, it should be argued that those selected will get the chance to play alongside some of the world’s finest talent, with this experience invaluable to those players looking to break into the England side across any of the three formats.
Central Contract Stars
Across each of the eight teams there is one ‘Central’ player who has a central contract with the ECB. The likes of England captain Joe Root, quick Jofra Archer, Headingley hero Ben Stokes and big-hitting Jos Buttler come under this category and they will add a very-English core to the team, with their names along often enough to bring a big crowd. However, an over-reliance on these players is not advised as they will likely not be available for the whole tournament with their commitments to England something that will likely get in the way. While these stars can be leaned upon, they should not become the sole reason why a team is in the ascendancy.
Central Contract Stars: Joe Root (Trent Rockets), Jofra Archer (Southern Brave), Ben Stokes (Northern Superchargers), Jonny Bairstow (Welsh Fire), Sam Curran (Oval Invincibles), Jos Buttler (Manchester Originals), Rory Burns (London Spirit) and Chris Woakes (Birmingham Phoenix).
Top Price Talent
The £125k band of the draft saw some of the world’s finest talent go under the hammer, and the picks did not disappoint. Rashid Khan made history as the first player to be picked while he also went for the maximum price of £125k as Trent Rockets picked him up along with Australian limited overs star D’Arcy Short. England’s arch nemesis from the Ashes in Steve Smith went to play alongside Bairstow with Welsh Fire, while David Warner and Andre Russell, two of the biggest hitters in the game, were both picked up by Southern Brave as they really packed in the batting talent. Not to be outdone though, England’s stars had a real presence in the top bracket as Eoin Morgan, Jason Roy, Moeen Ali and Liam Livingstone all went for £125k.
Top Price Talent: Rashid Khan and D’Archy Short (Trent Rockets), Andre Russell and David Warner (Southern Brave), Aaron Finch and Mujeeb Ur Rahman (Northern Superchargers), Mitchell Starc and Steve Smith (Welsh Fire), Sunil Narine and Jason Roy (Oval Invincibles), Imran Tahir and Dane Vilas (Manchester Originals) Glenn Maxwell and Eoin Morgan (London Spirit) and Liam Livingstone and Moeen Ali (Birmingham Phoenix).
The Rest Of The Draw
As mentioned, there were a huge amount of players up for grabs in this one as the teams filled all 15 available spots ahead of the competition. Most notably, the likes of Alex Hales and Nathan Coulter-Nile went to the Trent Rockets, James Vince and Chris Jordan were snapped up by Southern Brave, Adil Rashid and Chris Lynn went to the Northern Superchargers, Tom Banton and Colin Ingram became Welsh Fire players, Sam Billings and Tom Curran joined Sam Curran at Oval Invincibles and Kane Williamson and Ravi Bopara joined Birmingham Phoenix. With the draw now done and dusted, all eyes will turn to the start of the first ever Hundred tournament, which begins in July 2020.
Eight city-based teams will compete over a 38 day period over the school summer holiday between July to September. Each team will play four matches at home and four matches away meaning they play their closest rivals twice in a format very similar to the Big Bash, resulting in a total of 32 games in the league before the play-offs.
After these matches, the top four sides in the league go into the play-offs where the same system that is utilised in the IPL is going to be used. This will see the top two teams play one-another with the winner progressing straight to the final, while the loser will get another chance to reach the final as they take on the winner of the teams that finished in third and fourth, meaning that a top two finish is vital with a life on offer to either of the top two teams.