OPINION: The 100 Is Still Nonsense… But It’s All The Nonsense We’ve Got

Perhaps unsurprisingly, we weren’t invited to the trials for The 100 that took place this week at Loughborough and Trent Bridge; but enough information has dripped out to get a good idea of where things are going with the ECB’s new competition.

As the ECB are discovering, cheap slogans and simple promises don’t necessarily translate easily into actual workable solutions. The problems begin with the very concept of “100” – a number of balls which it turns out isn’t divisible by 6, and so can’t be slotted neatly into traditional 6-ball overs! So… let’s have 5 ball overs… but that means more changes of end… okay, so let’s have 10 ball overs… but that would lead to fast bowlers getting injured… okay so let’s have 5 or 10 ball overs, according to whether the batsman’s mother’s maiden name ends in a “Y”?

Not quite as simple as it sounded in the blue-sky marketing meeting, is it?

Other ideas floated around – cutting the “red tape” of LBWs and/or PowerPlays – have gone nowhere, because it turns out there were actually quite good reasons for these laws after all, and scrapping them would have a lot of negative externalities – scrap LBW and I’d give it 5 minutes before batsmen started taking advantage and using their pads deliberately to protect the stumps; scrap the PowerPlay and you’d have 9 men on the boundary before you could say “Howzat?”!

So it looks like what we will end up with is exactly like cricket… but with a more complicated “overs” system (possibly not even called “overs” but “fives”) which they will try to mask by having a big scoreboard count down from 100 – even though they HAVE to keep some concept of overs (/ fives) to control how many balls each bowler can bowl and from which end they will be bowled, because counting actual balls would obviously be a nightmare!

What a farce!

And yet… for all the nonsense… there will be an upside – the fillip in visibility that will come as the media latch on to Something New™, as they did with the KSL; the Free-To-Air TV numbers that will dwarf those that have sat behind Sky’s paywall for a generation; the families that will come for the fireworks in the sky and stay for the fireworks on the field.

There will be more opportunities for players too – especially the fringe players, with two additional rosters to fill. So the players are on-board, because it offers them more – more cricket, more visibility, more fame… and more money!

And at the end of the day… as I’m not the first to say… it’s still cricket – swingers will still swing; spinners will still spin; and batsmen will still bat.

And we’ll be there to watch, like we always are.

Because it might be nonsense.

But it’s all the nonsense we’ve got.

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11 thoughts on “OPINION: The 100 Is Still Nonsense… But It’s All The Nonsense We’ve Got

  1. It’s true there’ll be more playing opportunities in one sense – 8 teams & 36 matches compared with 6 & 32 in the KSL.

    In terms of the number of balls of cricket played however, there’ll be fewer played in a full season of The Hundred (7,200) than in the KSL (7,708)

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  2. For the women’s game this is just a substitution the 100 for the KSL. At least in the men’s game I can boycott the 100 and retain my interest in the County based Blast.

    But guessing the men and women will share the same franchise structure it will on one hand boost profile, on other we will lose the differentiation the KSL gave the women’s game.

    Which one benefits the long-term future who knows. Will the counties be encouraged to invest some of the £1.3m in the women’s and girls game?

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  3. In this confusing time trying to understand the 100 and where will it sit in the game order………
    Will the County games be the only time to play T20? (for the women)
    Thinking of developing players from the counties for England T20?
    Will the confusing 100 format be amended in any way?

    Sorry for all questions!

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  4. After a glorious and high-profile 2017 this season has been too low profile for the England women’s team, where was the investment where was the initiatives to ride on the coat tails of a great World Cup win? Everything overshadowed by the flippin 100!

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  5. I’m trying to get my head around what I think of all this in terms of the women’s game, and that thought process is mangled considerably by what I think of it in terms of the men’s game!

    I don’t like the proposed format. I have no idea whether it will work as a game, or whether it will achieve the desired aim of bringing in a “new audience” (we just don’t know the answer to either of those until it is up and running). I just don’t like it. I can’t see what it does that “proper cricket” doesn’t do.

    It’s not simpler than T20, it’s more complex. And if T20 is deemed too complicated for the uninitiated (I’ll refrain from describing them as “mums and kids”) then this will be more so.

    As a supporter of a “lesser” county, my allegiance won’t be bought, and that would apply even to a new T20 competition. Why support “Birmingham” when I will still have Worcestershire to follow in the Blast? (Reigning Champions – Yeah, Baby!!!!! Go Pears!!! #Loadsofhashtags #Etc #Etc…)

    However, with the women’s game I feel a strong urge – a sense of duty, if you like – to support ALMOST anything that is put in front of me. Unless it’s a double-header (to which I have an aversion anyway) I can see myself supporting “Birmingham”, or perhaps more likely wearing a neutral hat and supporting the tournament as a whole, travelling round venues whenever I can, because – well, if I won’t, and Syd and Raf won’t, and the followers of this blog won’t, how can we encourage others to support women’s cricket?

    The women’s game is not yet anywhere near strong enough that it can stand a “People’s Front of Judea” type factional battle where some supporters refuse to acknowledge the “100” and attend only County and International games. I may not like the “100” but the growth of the women’s game is more important to me right now than hanging my hat on any personal boycott. If the “100” is all we have at the top domestic level then we HAVE to support it.

    It sort of grieves me even to type that, because I profoundly worry about the impact of the new competition on the men’s game, and by unavoidable knock-on, on the women’s game too. I worry as a “small county” follower about what might be worse – that it succeeds? Or that it fails? Either way, I see trouble down the line for the counties that play at non-international grounds.

    As for the women’s game, it seems we are a deck-chair on an ocean-going liner. We will go wherever the boat goes, with no control and no say. We may see an iceberg ahead, but we have no voice to warn the captain, and I doubt he would listen anyway.

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  6. I maybe clutching at straws here but is there not room for the KSL still. England played their first home international this year on 9th June, the last was 13th July. If you have the Hundred through the summer where the KSL was, could you not move the KSL to April/May? It’s not ideal but is it workable.

    Of all the bad things about the Hundred, one of the worst for me is the loss of representation for the South West. Gloucestershire and Somerset have put a lot into the Western Storm and to lose it a disgrace. Why would anyone from Bristol, Taunton, Cheltenham or Gloucester support a franchise in Cardiff?

    Maybe the ECB will see sense and drop the whole thing but I’m not counting on it.

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    • The problem is that the entire game is still (for the medium term at least) dependent upon amateurs to make up the teams – you can have ONE comp that takes place during the summer holiday, when students (like your Sophia Dunkleys) and teachers (like your Arran Brindles) are off anyway, and others can take leave… but you can’t do this for a comp played in April/ May as well – so you’d have to play it on the weekends… at which point, where does the 50-over comp fit in?

      “Maybe the ECB will see sense and drop the whole thing but I’m not counting on it.”

      I think the chances of this are, as you suggest, very, very slim – The 100 is happening, whether we like it or not.

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  7. Any more info on special regulations used in the trial matches? I had heard suggestions that no balls and wides would not be re-bowled, except in the final 10 balls, and would instead count for more than one run. Heard nothing about that in the reports in the press, or on here. So was it the case that both the men’s and women’s trial matches treated no balls and wides as per the Laws?
    On another point, didn’t Clare Connor say that an equivalent T20 comp of similar standard to the KSL would be retained alongside the 100? Although where you fit everything into the calendar, alongside internationals, Women’s county and women’s club cricket I don’t know!

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  8. Lots of little aspects of the 100 so far don’t make much sense. Having bowlers able to bowl 5 OR 10 ball spells is more complicated than fixed 6-ball overs, not less. The point was to be simpler. As a general rule, it looks like the spinners will prefer 10 ball “overs” unless things go badly; whilst pace bowlers will prefer 5-balls, unless things go particularly well. So nice little pattern there, only interesting to those who are already fans of cricket.

    But having these silly tactical time-outs goes completely against the whole point of the format, which was to be brisk and breezy and over in 2 and a half hours. It smacks of making it up as they go along. I reckon a men’s 100 with those time-outs will be about the same length as a women’s normal T20, if not longer. Would they show the latter on prime-time instead though…

    Also, building up the KSL for 4 years then ditching it for an unknown quantity, and maybe having to start again from scratch developing another T20 league again! What on earth is going on with that, I’ve no clue.

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