Key matches in the Women’s Hundred, including the semi-final and final, are set to start at 3am in the morning UK time, after the ECB agreed a ground-breaking deal with US TV network Stoat Sports to broadcast the games live on prime-time American TV.
Stoat Sports – sister company of fantasy-based “news” network Stoat News – is owned by reclusive Australian billionaire Bruce Murdoc, and has over a billion subscribers in the US alone, mainly on the west coast, where fans will be able to catch the action during the viewer-friendly early evening slot in the schedules.
Speaking from his mansion in Portland, Oregon, where he is currently under house arrest following unsubstantiated accusations of tax and accounting fraud, Murdoc said:
“Women’s cricket is a huge growth market, and we’re fair-dinkum stoked by this deal. I’ll personally be flying the Stoat Sports helicopter all the way to Lords to deliver the cash… just as soon as the FBI return my passport!”
A spokesperson for The Hundred said:
“Although 3am starts are not ideal for UK audiences, this deal brings in significant revenue, which we can hopefully use to restore salaries in the men’s competition to their pre-COVID levels, after they were cut by 20% due to the pandemic in 2021.”
CRICKETher understands that the women’s salaries will be unaffected.
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With the cricket season under threat due to the coronavirus, news has emerged of a proposal to play the Women’s Hundred at night, after research carried out in Australia indicated that COVID-19 can’t be transmitted after sunset because the virus is scared of the dark.
Night Cricket (Photo: Don Miles)
Dr April Fulio, Dean of Topical Diseases at the Sydney University of Medicine, told CRICKETher:
“We noticed that viral content on social media is much more active during the day than it is at night, so we extrapolated from that using what scientists call ‘multi-level post-rationalisation’. This allowed us to base our conclusions almost entirely upon the unsubstantiated conjecture that the virus is essentially scared of the dark.”
Suggestions to play the Men’s Hundred behind closed doors, in a so-called ‘sterile environment’, have already been put on the table; but the additional financial constraints on the women’s competition called for a more innovative solution.
Dr Fulio explained:
“The matches would have to be played in total darkness, which rules out using floodlights, but instead we are examining the possibility of playing with a luminous pink Incrediball to assist visibility.”
“Fans will be able to watch the action live-streamed on Instagram, using a “Predator” style filter which simulates military thermal imaging technology, in another innovative first for the women’s game!”
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The ECB has announced that they are abolishing overs in their new “100-ball” tournament to be launched next year.
The concept of an “over” is one of the oldest laws in cricket. After six balls the fielding team switches ends, and a different bowler is selected to bowl from the opposite end – crucially, no bowler may bowl two overs in succession.
But in order to simplify cricket for a new generation, the ECB have decided to abolish overs and replace them with “ends”. Under these new simplified rules, the fielding team will change ends after ten balls, but they can opt to change bowlers either half way through an end (or not) while a bowler may bowl in successive ends, as long as they don’t exceed 20 balls.
As Theresa May might say: Simples!
Additionally, in order to add to the drama and cram matches into the two hour window required by the tournament’s free-to-air broadcaster the BBC, the new competition’s playing conditions will include time-outs. These will shorten the game and ram-up the excitement, by adding several minutes during which very little will happen.
While many of these changes are aimed at
people who don’t really like cricket mums and kids, the ECB will ensure that its existing fanbase feels a sense of continuity and buy-in, by abolishing all the existing teams and replacing them with new ones further away. Fans of the most successful men’s counties, like Essex who regularly sell out Chelmsford, and current Blast Champions Worcestershire, will be able to select from one of eight new teams to support, with a range of lovely replica shirts, in gorgeous primary colours, to choose from.
Last year’s April Fools piece, which suggested that the Australian team were going to have GPS chips surgically implanted into their bodies, led to the editor fielding a stern call from a representative of Cricket Australia, demanding to know our source for the story. The editor would like to make it clear therefore that this story is just a made-up joke in the great tradition of April Fools hoaxes and is obviously not going to happen!
In a revolutionary new program, the Southern Stars are set to work with researchers from the Sydney University of Medicine, to pioneer the use of advanced GPS technology to track them both on the field and off.
In recent years Australia, in common with other top teams, have used on-field GPS trackers which are worn via a small harness attached across the shoulders; but this setup was designed for men and is uncomfortable to wear with a sports-bra, so the professors at SUM have come up with an alternative where the tracker is surgically implanted directly into the spine of the player.
Dr April Fulio, Dean of Cyber-Medicine at SUM, speaking at a joint airport press conference following the Southern Stars triumphant return from India, explained:
“It is a quick and relatively painless procedure, which has been used for years to microchip cats and dogs – these gizmos are getting smaller and more functional ever year, and the latest generation trackers are little bigger than a fun-sized Mars bar, making them ideal for surgical use.”
“As well as tracking their mileage on the field, the new tech has advantages off the field as well – if any of them ever gets lost, it will be as simple as taking them to the nearest vet, who will be able scan them in and return them to their family.”
One leading Australian player told CRICKETher: “Everyone already thinks I’m a robot, so I thought, why not!”
Meanwhile, another said: “Hang on… relatively painless…?” before making a quick dash for the nearest emergency exit.
The 2017 Women’s World Cup, which was due to be staged in England this summer, has been cancelled, according to a statement from Cricket Australia.
Bruce Bruceton, the Deputy Vice Chief Executive of Women’s Cricket in Australia, made the announcement at a special press conference last night in Melbourne.
“It was clear to everyone that Australia were going to win the World Cup anyway, so we’ve decided to do the sensible thing and just keep the trophy for another 4 years.”
Australian skipper Meg Megastar, who has been credited with an additional 9 international centuries, to make up for the ones she would have scored anyway if the tournament had been played, added:
“I’m really, really good at the crickets. By the way… has anyone seen Warnie?”
It is expected that a decision on the 2021 World Cup in New Zealand will be made shortly after midday.