England to introduce 100-ball cricket

ECB proposes new format of the game for revamped domestic competition in 2020

Cricket Network

19 April 2018, 10:53 PM AEST

The England and Wales Cricket Board plans on introducing a new format of the game where each team faces 100 balls as part of a revamped domestic competition in 2020.

The proposed format for a new eight-team tournament would see each team face 15 six-ball overs as well as another 10 deliveries to make up a total of 100 balls. It is not clear at what point in an innings the extra 10 deliveries will be bowled, or whether they will be bowled by one bowler or more.

Each team faces 120 deliveries in Twenty20 cricket, which is currently the shortest form of the game played at domestic level by major cricketing nations.

"This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game," said ECB chairman Tom Harrison.

"Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process. We will continue to do that as the concept evolves.

"Our game has a history of innovation and we have a duty to look for future growth for the health and sustainability of the whole game.

"There are 18 first-class counties, playing red and white-ball cricket, at our core and these counties and competitions will be supported, promoted and benefit from the game’s growth."

ECB Chief Commercial Officer Sanjay Patel added "the other 10 balls will add a fresh tactical dimension" to the game.

The immediate reaction to the concept from fans appears to be a negative one, with more than 80 per cent of respondents to the above cricket.com.au poll against the implementation of the new format. 

In a statement, the ECB said broadcasters and players have been consulted about the new format.

It represents a big shift for the game, which has used six-ball overs as standard since 1979-80. Before that, overs of four, five, six and eight balls were used at various stages throughout the years.

The ECB introduced Twenty20 cricket in 2003 and now wants to bring in a new format, which will feature 40 less deliveries per match than T20s, reducing the length of matches and potentially making the product more appealing to fans and broadcasters.

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While 100-ball cricket would become the shortest format in a domestic league in a major cricketing nation, shorter formats have been played around the world previously in other countries.

A 10-overs-a-side competition was staged in the UAE last year, a three-day event organised by the Emirates Cricket Board.

And the annual Hong Kong Sixes tournament sees each team face a maximum of five six-ball overs.

The ECB has already confirmed that Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham will be the venues for the new five-week competition, which starts in 2020.

It has also announced that each franchise will have a men's and a women's team.

The new tournament will run alongside the existing county structure, which includes four-day, 50-over and 20-over competitions.