It’s not often, if ever, that the English Cricket Board can unite the English viewing public and media across all 18 of the Counties in first class cricket. It does appear that they have managed it though with the proposal of their new 100 ball tournament. Its claimed to a simpler format than those already played with 14 standards six ball overs and the last over of each innings then leaping to a ten ball over to finish the innings which equates to 100 balls in total. This is supposed to be easier to understand for the non-cricket public than 20 overs of the standard six ball over that has been a massive hit in Australia with kids and women being introduced to the game in this format for years now and the ECB have been desperate to emulate.
The reaction has been a mixture of anger and ridicule at the idea, with it appearing that the ECBs response to the massive 20 over competitions taking place across the world that seem to grow form strength to strength and bring in the new generation of viewers to the game, is not to tap into what works with them, but come up with some new “cool” version of the game that has never been seen before.
For years England’s 20/20 competition has been light years behind the Big Bash and IPL. It took a while but the penny finally dropped that it needed to catch up and has been on its way to achieving it with it being played in a block on its own in the heart of the English summer with lots of the match’s being played on Friday evening’s for the start of most people’s weekends and drawing big crowds and also big name players around the world who were now moving across the glove to play in the improving competition.
The move in the right direction has benefited everyone. Counties, getting ground’s packed and money in the coffers which is a god send for most who struggle financially. The players themselves playing in a higher standard and more publicised English competition and the ECB who for once seemed to be driving the vehicle in the right direction.
It will be interesting to see how things pan out, and if the ECB listen to the reaction of what they’ve put on offer or if they try to sell the seemingly unsellable.
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