PAUL NEWMAN: Scrap this rotten idea called the Hundred for good and write off the wasted millions so we can put our marketing and promotional efforts into a revamped T20 Blast
- The postponement of the Hundred gives the ECB a chance to admit their mistake
- This is not the time to criticise anyone at the governing body given the crisis
- Let’s go back to what they should have done initially and revamp the T20 Blast
- Give it two divisions with promotion and relegation and have a Premier League
One of the options the ECB may consider in their review of the future of their new Hundred competition is to involve all 18 counties and their players while employing existing coaching staffs. They may even change the number of deliveries.
Great idea. Why don’t we have, say, 120 balls per innings? That might be better. And if we are using all 18 counties, we won’t need any of those cringeworthy new team names such as Manchester Originals and London Spirit. Lancashire and Middlesex will do nicely.
We would just need a name for this new-fangled concept. How about the T20 Blast? There’s even a far more suitable sponsor than a snack company interested in backing it, too, called Vitality.
Let’s scrap the Hundred and write off the millions of pounds that have already been wasted
It might, in the uncertain future awaiting cricket on the other side of the virus, just work.
Truly, if the brains at the ECB who came up with the Hundred in the first place want to protect their reputations and egos by quietly abandoning their new baby, going back to what has been proven to work and dressing it up as a review, then let them.
This is not the time to criticise anyone at the governing body trying to cope with the biggest crisis of our lifetimes.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison and his staff could not have done any more, so far, in their quest to ‘keep the lights on’ at Lord’s and throughout the game.
But the postponement of the controversial new format for at least a year — which will be confirmed on Friday — gives the ECB the opportunity to admit their mistake and go back to what they should have done in the first place.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison (right) and his staff could have done no more in this crisis
Let’s scrap the Hundred, write off the millions of pounds that have already been wasted on a format that has brought so much condemnation from followers of the game and put our marketing and promotional efforts into a revamped T20 Blast.
Give it two divisions with promotion and relegation. Have a Premier League. Show that it is special by treating it with respect as the highly popular and still growing competition it already is. There should be no issues with broadcasters either because Sky Sports and the BBC bought the rights to a new competition, not specifically the Hundred. A revamped, all-singing and all-dancing Blast with all 18 counties involved would be just that.
There is, of course, irony in Harrison’s stated aim of rewarding cricket’s ‘core’ audience by giving them the most popular and lucrative types of cricket first in whatever season we are destined to have later this summer. For it was the core audience that was so blatantly disregarded by the ECB when it arrogantly came up with an expensive format, apparently on the back of market research that still hasn’t been adequately explained, in search of a mythical new audience.
But they should put their marketing and promotional efforts into a revamped T20 Blast
Well, cricket is going to need every one of that under-appreciated army of followers when it is finally able to open its doors or, initially, put on a show behind closed ones.
And one of the best ways to do that is to accept that, in the T20 Blast, they have a jewel of a competition that is far better than the ‘mediocre’ product it was so embarrassingly and damagingly labelled by outgoing ECB chairman Colin Graves four years ago.
There is no question, whatever the ECB say, that the Blast would have been undermined by the arrival of the Hundred if this had been a normal season.
It would have been the beginning of the end of it and the beginning of the end, too, of an 18-county structure.
There are not many silver linings to the clouds hanging over the whole world at the moment, but here’s one for the ECB to embrace. When it comes to the Hundred, let’s call the whole thing off.
There should be promotion and relegation involved and a Premier League feel to the Blast
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