England's plan to tinker with T20 cricket and introduce a new, shorter format of the game is an attempt to attract new fans and a "more casual audience", according to ECB director of cricket Andrew Strauss.
The England and Wales Cricket Board's proposal for an overhauled domestic competition that will see each team face 100 balls rather than 20 overs was met with both bewilderment and tentative endorsement last week.
Dubbed 'The Hundred', the new format could feature 15 six-ball overs per side and a final 10-ball over, though exact details are yet to be finalised, with the eight-team tournament to begin in 2020.
"What we're trying to do is appeal to a new audience, people that aren't traditional cricket fans," Strauss told the BBC.
"We want to make the game as simple as possible for them to understand."
Strauss also noted time was an important factor in the radical decision to introduce a completely new format, suggesting a T20 match can sometimes go for longer than four hours.
Incidentally, England's T20 Blast was the shortest 20-over domestic competition in the world during the 2017 and 2017-18 seasons, according to cricket statistician Ric Finlay.
The average T20 Blast innings went for 85 minutes during the 2017 season, meaning a T20 match in the United Kingdom is on average more than 40 minutes shorter than an Indian Premier League game, the slowest T20 tournament in the world.
A standard KFC Big Bash League innings took 90 minutes, more time than it took for an typical block of 20 overs in Test and one-day international cricket to be bowled.
"T20 has been unbelievably successful and it has established a very strong audience now," Strauss said.
"We want that audience but a different audience as well, who perhaps would like things slightly different. That's the driver behind this idea.
"T20 has become a longer and longer format of the game. It is more than four hours in a lot of parts of the world.
"We want kids to be able to go to bed earlier and it is worth saying it is going to be on terrestrial TV. We want the more casual audience."
England fast bowler Stuart Broad told Sky Sports he's "hugely optimistic" about the concept, adding: "I love the fact that it's different to all the other tournaments worldwide."
His former national teammate Chris Tremlett summed up some of the backlash against it, tweeting: "As if the general public didn’t understand cricket enough in the current formats, we go and add another one. Not sure what’s wrong with 2020 and why we’re trying to get funky."
But the ECB believes it will give a major boost to women's cricket, with the existing Super League sides to be aligned with the male teams from 2020, just as Women's Big Bash League sides correspond with BBL teams.
"Our World Cup win at Lord's last July showed what's possible in terms of our sport reaching a new, younger and more diverse audience," the ECB's director of women's cricket Clare Connor said.
"To build the women's and men's competitions and identities together, side by side, is a prospect that few sports ever have and will give us greater reach, scale and prominence.
"It will attract more women and girls to the game, ensure that cricket reaches and entertains more families and give our players an exciting stage upon which to display their talent."
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