Well, the ECB is a business and cricket is their product. Like any other business, they need to generate revenue by broadening their thinking and creating new products. The Hundred is the ECB’s latest property and, following the success of the T20 blast over the last 15 years, you can see why they want to expand on this, creating something very similar, albeit shorter, sharper and quicker. The ECB must be looking at the IPL and Big Bash with envy, following their huge, respective successes.
With anyone trying to do something new, there will inevitably be criticism. The biggest talking point – and rightly so – will be how it effects the existing domestic structure. The Hundred will take place next July during the domestic 50-over competition, and counties will be affected in some way or another. Sussex, Nottinghamshire and Surrey will be without nine players or more (Sussex topping the list on 11), whilst not a single Leicestershire player was recruited and only one from Northamptonshire. Then again, Premiership rugby has been dealing with a similar issue for years, as players are called upon by their nations for international duty throughout the course of the season, on the whole for even greater periods of absence.
KP Snacks’ visual domination across the front of all the kits with an array of snack-based brands (Skips, Hoola Hoops, McCoy’s Crisps, to name a few) has drawn criticism, particularly when child obesity in the UK is at a high. KP is not alone with the challenge of whether their partnership is in the best interests of the sport. The Premier League is increasingly having to answer questions on the number of clubs sponsored by betting firms and Ferrari’s Mission Winnow sponsorship under global scrutiny.
In response to the criticism this competition has received, the Hundred organisers have emphasised the sporting merits of the new tournament; how it’ll be investing funds into the game, attracting a ‘new’ audience, engaging local communities, promoting locally based talent on a global scale. Surely, these are all things to be enthused about?