Reimagining The Blast. Is It Really That Simple?

Today we have a guest spot from new contributor Stephen Connor. He challenges the oft-mooted argument that The Blast could easily be reformed to replace the Hundred. I give him full marks for trying to be open-minded and balanced. Sometimes I have to remind myself that there are other perspectives other than my own…

As the second edition of the Hundred draws to a close, debate still rages as to its merits. Or what passes for debate; TV commentators try to convince viewers that everything that happens is spectacular. Meanwhile online, practically any Tweet from the BBC or Sky mentioning the competition will have some cheerful soul underneath urging them to scrap the whole thing.

There are many people with strong feelings about the competition. To summarize arguments about existence of the Hundred I think there are broadly three positions.

The first is that things were more or less fine with the Blast as was and it should have been left alone. Perhaps with room for a bit of tweaking – for example better scheduling or increased TV coverage.

At the other end of the scale is the notion that the Hundred was a necessary addition to the calendar to generate new interest, draw in new fans and create an elite competition to sit alongside the legion of high profile T20 leagues around the world.

Both positions I think have merit and can be argued in good faith. There’s a third position in between that I’ve seen mentioned a lot – that restructured and revamped version of the Blast could do what the Hundred set out to achieve. That’s what I wanted to explore in a bit more detail. Because once you try and push that idea into shape it presents new issues.

Let me start by saying that I don’t hate the Hundred itself. There are some good things about it that are different to the current version of the Blast. But equally I see that the knock-on effects are potentially far reaching for English cricket.

These are what I see as the strengths of the Hundred:

Quality – I know this is debatable and that there are high quality Blast teams, but it seems it’s undeniable that the talent is going to be more concentrated amongst 8 teams compared to 18. Plus, there are more high-profile overseas players in each team. So it’s a stronger competition in terms of batters vs bowlers.

Structure and Profile – Put simply it’s on TV. A lot. Every game is on Sky, many are free-to-air on BBC and Sky’s Youtube channel. The structure of the competition means it’s short and easy to follow (not always the case with the Blast). I really like the game-a-day format as it means focus is not diluted. And it creates a tournament feel a bit like the football World Cup.

The Women’s game – This has been an incredible step forward. Crowds are at record-breaking highs across the competition. The players seem to love it and it’s undoubtedly exposing players to a higher level of competition. Although it came about by chance, the double-headers seem to work very well. It’s difficult to quantify but from a personal point of view it just feels like the profile of women’s cricket has increased.

Engagement – This is probably the most controversial point and I know the Blast is already engaging so I’ll limit my comments to saying that there seems to be lots more women and children in attendance. The crowds are reasonably big and I’ve been surprised by how quickly they have backed the new teams. There are lots of replica jerseys in the stands.

When listening or watching there feels like strong home support e.g. silence for opposition wickets and boundaries, raucous noise for when the home team do the same. Purely anecdotally, I was at the Rockets v Superchargers game in 2021 and the noise when Hales finished off the game was incredible.

So the question then is – could those same benefits have been delivered by rejigging the Blast?

This is how I imagine a revamped Blast might have looked.

  • A T20 cricket competition with two divisions. A top division of 8, second division of 10. Maintain the game a day format with every Division 1 game on TV with full Sky treatment.  Spread over 4 (maybe 6?) weeks.
  • The ECB to pump money into the top division. This would need some thought – maybe an overseas player draft or trading system to secure overseas players. Salary increases for domestic players.
  • Double-headers with women’s games. This is the trickiest part given the different team identities and fewer number of women’s regional teams. I guess it would make most sense to pair regional teams with individual counties or groups of counties e.g. Thunder with Lancashire, Sparks with Warks etc. But it would lose the men and women playing the same opponents in each fixture.

Some of the finer points are up for debate. But at the basic level this would be about restructuring the Blast as it is to become more like the Hundred (or IPL, PSL etc).

These are what I would see as the benefits.


Team and Player Continuity. There would be continuity across the formats. Hants would continue to play 3 formats. Hants players would continue to play for Hants all season. The competition would be a test of players brought through counties’ own systems of scouting and player development. For me the sad sight of Welsh Fire limping along in the Hundred this season has been made worse by the fact that none of players seem to be Welsh. On top of the domestic teams there could then be an injection of star overseas players for duration of the tournament.

Maintaining ‘legacy’ fans. Obviously there is a ready-made fan base for the counties – one that has been disenfranchised (so to speak) by the arrival of the new tournament plonked on top of their teams and structure. The counties have long histories, and many have strong identities and existing rivalries. The likes of Yorks, Lancs, Somerset and Surrey are already very well supported. A revamped Blast would therefore be a chance to lift the profile of cricket without alienating existing fans.

Promotion and Relegation. Two divisions would be unique amongst franchise-style leagues and would add jeopardy to the end of the season beyond who made the playoffs. Chances are in an 8-team league most teams would be facing some sort of jeopardy going into the final group stage. Two divisions might also appeal a bit more to English sensibilities as we’re not used to franchise style closed shops.

Doing a Leicester(shire) – Two divisions would open the door to smaller clubs to work their way up the top. People love an underdog story with smaller teams competing against the bigger ones. Not to mention the fact that many of the non-Hundred counties have been the best T20 teams in recent history – Somerset, Kent, Worcestershire etc.

Summer schedule. Possibly the biggest boon would be freeing up the cricket schedule. Let’s assume that the revamped Blast would continue to take up the current Hundred August window. That would free up other prime summer months for Championship and List A cricket.

However, I think there are negatives to consider too…


The Premier league effect. Putting money into the top division could exacerbate the divide between 1st and 2nd division counties. There is an argument to spread any ECB money more evenly but I think that could end up with something a bit too close to what the Blast is now. If a new competition aims to be elite then the best players should be in the top division, as is the case in football. This could seriously affect any teams consistently at the bottom of division 2.

That leads to the issue of player logistics. A short high-profile tournament might end up moving the best players to Division 1 counties. What might the effect be on their status for the rest of the 6 month season? Could there be separate Red and White ball contracts allowing the best players to move county for the Blast one month a year? The obvious risk would be a drift of players towards the big counties, even more so than happens currently with The Hundred.

Marketability. As already highlighted there are existing counties with strong identities. But being honest I wonder about the marketability of some counties. I’ve met many a proud Yorkshireman but (with apologies) don’t think I’ve met many people fiercely proud to be from Sussex or Worcestershire. You can see why those devising the Hundred felt a clean break was required. 18 counties are a lot to market. Even in the Blast Warwickshire has seen fit to rebrand itself as Birmingham.

On the flip side of this, it is possible that a team could become fashionable by dint of being in the top division. The Premier League in football is hyped and the glamour arguably rubs off on less fashionable teams like (again, with apologies) Bournemouth, Brighton or Leicester.
Also linked to the marketability are the facilities. The Test grounds look great on TV during the Hundred. What might Northampton or Chelmsford look like on prime-time TV? On the other hand, if it’s a full house, a small ground can be rocking. Witness some of the crowds at Taunton.

Impact on Women’s cricket. This one is impossible to judge. People have argued that if you promote something hard enough they will come. But it seems to me that the women have benefitted from sharing the same identity as the men during the Hundred. I believe Kia Super League matches were twinned with Blast games in the past without much success. And the recent experiment at Lancashire of putting Thunder with top billing ahead of the Men for a T20 felt a little chastening. It looked like the crowd emptied out after the men’s game. Having different team identities could risk women’s cricket feeling forever like an undercard.

Finally a couple of practical issues. Would T20 double headers be too long? It’s only 20 overs per innings but across 4 innings that’s 80 overs. Another hour on a family’s day out. And would the season be too short? Is a month enough T20 cricket for counties? Would the counties swap 7 days of old Blast dotted through the season for 4 days of a new competition in August? But any longer and it might feel like the Blast of old, or even the Big Bash.

In conclusion, I think it’s all rather complicated. I think the Blast could have done the same job with some smart thinking. As Reverend Lovejoy once said in the Simpsons – “short answer, “yes” with an “if.” Long answer, “no” with a “but.”

Whether people wanted the Blast turned into a Hundred/IPL style tournament is a different argument but it could have been done. I wonder if the ECB, Sky and even the counties themselves lacked the confidence to relaunch in this way. Would it have annoyed members even more? A misstep in redesigning the Blast could have proved even more controversial.

Personally, one of the issues is that I didn’t know what I wanted or what could be achieved until I saw it. I didn’t know I was going to get so interested in Women’s cricket. I didn’t know double headers would work so well. I didn’t know fans would identify with new teams so quickly.

A revamped Blast as outlined above would have brought a lot of the same issues people dislike about the Hunderd. I mentioned the Premier League effect. Has it been a positive for football or not? There are still plenty of people that resent what the Premier League has done to football in the last 30 years.

Now that it’s here I can see a future where the Hundred continues and integrates more seamlessly with the Blast. Maybe drawing more explicit links between the counties and Hundred teams to create stronger regional identities. Perhaps Hundred teams could be limited to drawing domestic players from certain counties (e.g. Superchargers from Durham and Yorkshire)?

Maybe even the Hundred could be subsumed back into the county game to create a new Blast competition? A few years of the Hundred could be seen as a trial run for this type of competition. Whisper it quietly, but counties could even retain some of the Hundred identities e.g. Middlesex become the Spirit, Lancashire the Originals etc. And create some new ones along the way… anyone for the Western Warriors? Or the Eastern Stars?

As a final note – as fun as it has been to reimagine the Blast during this exercise, it might all be pointless in the face of the IPL juggernaut. Some players might soon be contracted to IPL teams all year round rather than counties or Hundred franchises. We’ve already seen players leaving the Hundred to join the CPL, in which case it might not matter if it’s the Blast, the Hundred or any other thing we could dream of. Who knows, we might even end up watching the Welsh Kings versus Northern Super Kings in the future.

Stephen Connor


  • I think the point you demonstrate is that The Blast could have been tailored to cover pretty much everything the Hundred has to offer from the beginning, especially adding the women’s events to the event. What it didn’t do is get the autonomy the ECB wanted from the Counties with the financial arrangements and so was a non-starter for the ECB.

    • Exactly ! The ECB have no interest in rejigging anything. They want a format that they own and take all the revenue from. The 100 was never about cricket. It was only ever about money.

  • Good balanced piece Stephen. Albeit all very complex. A few random thoughts:
    1. There is a huge problem with scheduling Worldwide. There is too much cricket, or rather too much bad cricket. Whatever the balance the 100 and The Blast cannot coexist. It’s like two same companies competing against each other. Whether the competition is 100 balls or 120 is irrelevant from a spectacular perspective. The 100 doesn’t seem to be attractive anywhere outside the UK. The problem with holding it or the Blast in August is that the County Championship is not played for the six or seven key weeks of the summer and the RLODC has been reduced to a shambles, a format we just happen to be World Champions in.
    2. I am not convinced that the 100 brings in more kids, recent ODC games at the Oval have had bags of families who actually seen to prefer a day out, rather than join an evening booze up with the boys. Kids are fickle they soon tire of “new” crazes and go back to gaming.
    3. The women had there own successfully T20 Championship pre 100 which was removed by the ECB. Has the 100 in fact raised the profile of women’s cricket being it’s only played at 8 grounds rather than 18? I don’t know, but I doubt it.
    4. Overseas players in the 100? Err…none from India or Australia and most of them have bailed for overseas T20 leagues now. I’ve never heard of half the ones playing at present.
    5. The despicable idiots of the ECB have fast tracked an extended 100 tv contract to 2028 before Richard Thompson had warmed to his seat. Hopefully in light of rapidly falling TV audiences (see today’s news) that’s going to alter. He’s already blocked any reduction in CC games for next year and knowing him from Surrey will have a lot to say on the so called “High Performance Review” and that baffoon Strauss.
    6. Ok I could go on, but I loathe the 100 and the damage it’s doing to cricket. It’s splitting the game down the middle. If Thompson can’t do anything with the Exterminating Cricket Board, I see a breakaway organisation on the horizon. Disenfranchise your core membership at your peril.

    • But there were plenty of Indian players in the Royal London…:-)–at least till they got injured.

      I take your point about existing tournaments, but I don’t agree that the RLC has been a shambles this year. Most of the games I’ve seen this year have been delightful–made more so by the fact that I’ve seen so many from outgrounds.

    • “And the RLODC hs been reduced to a shambles, something we happen to be world champions in”. Are you suggesting that England are world champions at reducing things to a shambles? Actually, thinking about the ECB and the current government (or lack of), you may well be right!

      On a (slightly) more serious note, some thoughts on the Hundred and your comments:
      – I don’t think the ECB could get the 18 counties to agree on a suitable date for Christmas, let alone a revamped tournament. I think they would have been better off doing a franchise version of the Blast, rather than inventing a new format (which may go the way of the John Player League). Too many bells and whistles for me.
      -I entirely agree about women’s cricket. I started getting interested during the recent world cup, and I think the double header format works. Also, I feel that more of the top world women’s players are playing in the Hundred than the men’s. I believe the IPl has been debating a women’s IPL for some time. The Hundred may provide a role model here (if nowhere else).
      – One innovation I do like, however, is the “cut off time”. I know it’s for TV, but anything that keeps the game moving is welcome. Some IPL games last 4 hours plus, which is far too long. Another is the new batter facing the ball after a wicket.
      – Someone said there were “no Indians or Australians” in the Hundred. This may come as a surprise to the likes of Matthew Wade! It is, however, true that none of the “marquee” Australian male players (sorry, Matthew!), Warner, Starc, Cummins, Smith, etc are playing. Smriti Mandhana is playing in the Hundred too, but the point is correct if you only mean Indian men.
      – Hundred commentary, whether on BBC or Sky, is generally abysmal, and more like cheerleading than commentary (the IPL suffers from this too).
      – The ECB might like to tweak the timing of the tournament. Half the England (white ball) players are also in the test side, and most of the West Indians have gone home half way through the tournament to play in the CPL. The Welsh Damp Squib (as I think they should be renamed) have suffered particularly badly from this problem.
      -Overall, I don’t think the quality has been that fantastic: it’s a bit “meh” compared to the IPL.

    • On Welsh Fire, the disappointment at not including any Welsh players did make me smile. Would that be in comparison to Glamorgan, whose first-choice Championship thirteen this season has generally included four Australians, one South African, one Zimbabwean, three players from other counties, and a Welshman who spent the vast majority of his 20s playing for a team in London?

  • I went to my first hundred game yesterday as I wanted to experience it in person as opposed to on tv.
    The narrative throughout the day from presenters in the stadium was that it is ‘a show’ and it is entertainment for families, mainly young children. The presenters and dj often said coming up later in ‘the show’ and the producers racing round the stadium were keeping tight timings on where they needed to fit in next in between the 5 balls, etc.
    Professionally, it was a sight to behold and I have respect for the package on offer.
    However I’d disagree with the article on quality as the telling point for me was that the actual quality on the field was average and the crowd weren’t too bothered. Give or take a few of the top teams’ decent scores this season I don’t think the quality is better. Even KP said on tv this week that the quality of cricket had been ‘ok’ in this season’s tournament.
    Even though I was in Headingley I overheard some Yorkshiremen saying they couldn’t get behind the Superchargers properly as they only had a few Yorkies in the side.
    While I enjoyed my day out, I liked the band at halftime for example, but the action on the field seemed secondary to the marketing world I’d stepped into. As a sporting spectacle it wouldn’t have had me rushing back.
    There’s no reason the ecb couldn’t have family days like this on blast weekends for example, and focus their attention on bringing back some harmony in county cricket with a better financially supported blast competition played with the bbc and sky coverage most counties can only dream of.
    I think more could be done for each county to have incentives to develop their women’s teams and keep the double header format for the male/female blast competitions.
    The hundred is a cracking school holiday day out for families but won’t do much to develop our game from what I saw on offer yesterday.
    Why can’t the ecb see out the hundred side-show for the remainder of the contract making money from families and focus on young new players who want to gain experience. (From my point of view the crowds barely knew who was playing so the players weren’t the key draw here).
    And let’s get back to having our best players focus on The blast. This needs to be the future of the shorter game and not turn into the blast from the past.

  • Let’s just keep reducing the number of of overs in an innings. How about the fifty? The thirty? No, thirty¿s divisible by six. Ok, how about the twenty then? Or the ten?

    My suggestions may or may not be motivated by the idea that the shorter the matches, the more time it frees up for a bit of first class cricket in the heights of summer.

  • The problem with The Hundred is that it actively works against the progress of existing competitions. It’s not the format, which is so similar to T20 it doesn’t bare further analysis, or in principle a new competition, as we’ve been here before with the Gillette and Benson and Hedges Cups. The core issue is of course revenue and who benefits from that. The ECB and the counties being different sources. Clearly the Women’s game has benefitted but the county structure, which underpins the professional game has not. Vested interests outside the game in general are clearly at work here and until they are regulated the game will continue to fall into disrepair with overcrowded schedules and more dumbing down gimmicks to attract the general sports fan, just as with Music Festivals and Movies.

  • The ECB were never interested in revamping the Blast so it’s all a bit academic really.

    I see Being Outside Cricket’s critique of the Strauss Review has attracted a sock-puppet attack which is just about the highest praise it could get. Some feathers seemed to have been ruffled.

  • One thing I’m missing with most analysis of the Hundred is any in-depth consideration of exactly WHAT the Hundred was supposed to do–and therefore of what franchise tournaments in general are supposed to do.

    The most obvious thing is make a lot of money–which seems an odd aim for a bunch of tournamnets which generally lose tens of millions of whatevers for several years at least after they are introduced. So with the Hundred, it’s going to lose at least £60m over the first five years, plus the upfront money spent in conceiving and promoting it (around £200m if I recall from an earlier article somewhere). Is that REALLY going to make more money than carrying on with the Blast, which is at least fairly popular and whose basic infrastructure and marketing systems have been in place for 130 years or so? If it is, that’s because of broadcast money.

    Which leads to the question–who asked for a new format? The BBC say they didn’t, and a Blast match takes exactly three hours if conducted according to the Blast rules (which means that a broadcast similar to the old JPL coverage could be wrapped up in 3hrs 15). Sky possibly did–but it’s unlikely given that the original format was T20. That suggests to me that the broadcast money is coming at most because it’s short form cricket rathere than specifically because it’s the Hundred–which means it could equally have come from covering the Blast.

    Unless…it’s the franchise or new team element that they’re paying for. This is possible, but no-one in broadcasting has said that as far as I’m aware. Certainly, no-one’s articulated WHY franchises are more desirable than counties. The ECB has talked a lot about attracting new fans–but I’ve seen very little analysis of whether this is working and, if it is, why.

    Average crowds are bigger–but then they’re playing at the biggest grounds: crowds relative to total capacity are not much bigger than the Blast at its most popular. But are they fans who have been siphoned off from the Blast, or are they genuinely new fans? It’s interesting to hear about the increase in women and children–which only underlines the lack of South Asian Britons, who were one of the ECB’s big target groups and who seem to have ignored it altogether if the crowd pictures I’ve seen have been anything to go by.

    If there are new fans, WHY are they going to the Hundred but not to the Blast or the RLC or the Championship. Do the new teams speak to them in a way that counties don’t? Is it the bells and whistles?–which would be very worrying, because a cricket match should sell primarily on the…cricket, and they’ll probably get a better gig/DJ set/bouncy castle/cheerleading display from somewhere else. Is it something about the culture of county cricket that alienates these people–and if so, what? Without going to them and asking–which the ECB should be doing–I’m not sure we’re any further forward in answering the post’s question. For me there’s still the nagging feeling of the Hundred not actually doing anything at all that the Blast wasn’t doing anyway but much more cheaply–including making money, attracting broadcasters and getting passable crowds–and the Hundred’s crowds are no more than passable for a tournament that had had a nine-figure sum splurged on it before a ball was bowled: the grounds are on average one-third empty.

  • Very thoughtful analysis, Stephen, followed by some brilliant comments. I belong to the school of thought that says the hundred offers nothing the T20 couldn’t offer, maybe tweaked a bit. I have no idea which teams are doing well this year, and have not watched it on TV at all. Not interested. I’m probably a dog in the manger but I went to The Hundred once last season to the Oval just to be fair in my judgement. I even enjoyed it a bit, but I can’t bear all the shouting and whipping up of false enthusiasm, and haven’t returned, preferring the RLC this summer for all its absence of star names. Lots of family groups there for that at the Oval, and usually a satisfying day of cricket.

    I don’t feel any loyalty to the Invincibles (if only), It must be even worse for those in far flung counties that are barely represented. And what is Bairstow doing playing for the Welsh? How do the proud Yorkshire folk feel about that? Ollie Pope too, for that matter.

    I am attracted to Stephen’s suggestion of a day to day August Blast, based on county teams. I would arrange a week off in the middle for some first class cricket. Maybe a split competition with some of the Blast matches played in Spring half term week.
    My only quibble with Stephen there is the split into a top division of eight and a second division of ten. Nine each makes more sense to me – the increase of one team in D1 would not noticeably dilute the talent. With promotion and relegation, why not even a third division, a few minor counties, Scotland, Ireland, The Netherlands, more tendrils into the grass roots.

    Progress. Bah, humbug.

  • I believe The Blast needs to be more of a FA cup style format which includes first class counties, minor counties and grassroots cricket clubs because T20 is a good format and underdogs could possibly cause a huge upset to the major teams as the shorter format works in they favour. The Hundred is pointless as it makes cricket a dumber sport by introducing flashy graphics which looks really tacky and some what cheap.

    • I assume by that you mean the Guardian–although why they’re lackeys any more than writers or subeditors at the Telegraph I suspect has more to do with a personal beef of yours against the Guardian (I remember you used to comment there very frequently, so it wasn’t always like that!) than anything to do with the papers themselves.

      But I think you’re at least as guilty–and probably more so–of spinning this than the newspaper you’re criticising. It comes across rather as if you’ve only read the headlines of the pieces.

      First, you’re comparing apples with oranges: the Telegraph piece is specifically about the fall in figures for one of the Hundred’s two broadcasters, while the only Guardian piece I can see in the last week is about how the tournament has fared generally. (It also doesn’t used the word “mixed” to refer to the news as far as I can see, so why you’re quoting something that’s not there is anyone’s guess).

      But more importantly, BOTH pieces paint a somewhat mixed picture of this year’s Hundred season–it’s just that the Telegraph subeditor (and the writers have nothing to do with the headings, which quite often fail to accurately represent the contents of an article) has given a more one-sided headline.

      The Guardian piece gives reasons why the news could be considered mixed, or at least not entirely conclusive. “Sky have not released any figures, so it is hard to know if some viewers just jumped ship to their more familiar cricket channel” (compare “the BBC numbers paint only a partial picture as coverage is shared with Sky Sports” in the Telegraph).

      “The Premier League started a week early this year, in order to squeeze in a winter World Cup, which left the Hundred with just two days before the football bandwagon started rolling”. (Last year the Hundred started earlier too, so this period was almost three weeks). And “this is also the first summer people have been able to travel abroad for their holidays since 2019”. (There’s also a point about one possible reason being watching on other media completely, which she’s clearly a little ambivalent about herself; and about it maybe being due to the packed cricket calendar–which to me seems like complete rubbish: it’s not much more packed than last year). Compare: “sources close to the BBC suggested there may be a host of factors behind the drop in viewer numbers rather than a specific fall in interest in the format” (Telegraph).

      Then also: “In the grounds, though, ticket-sales appear to have held up”. (“Despite the viewing figures, tickets sales have been very good with most grounds full for Hundred matches outside Cardiff.”–Telegraph).

      And, as the Telegraph but not the Guardian pointed out: “The total viewing figures on the BBC were only fractionally short of the peak of 1.7 million who watched England’s men’s Twenty20 fixture with Pakistan the previous Sunday”. (So, it’s eminently possible that about the same number of people watched one short-format cricket match on one particular weekday as watched one the previous weekend day–which looks like an improvement to me).

      I would be happy to see the Hundred be less attractive to viewers than the Royal London, which was its direct competitor–but if you’re going to assess the merits of newspaper articles on this, then I think you need to be more accurate, more incisive and probably less self-interested than you have been here.

  • Only discovered this blog recently – it’s become something of a must read to me as a cricket lover (of all types)

    I’ve tried to get my kids interested in cricket with limited success but they are both obsessed by the Hundred to the point they will put it on tv even if I am not around.

    On reflection I think there are a couple of reasons for this – given they are both girls they perceive the tv (and live) coverage being equal and the elder of the two has said that it gives her a level of inspiration to see womens teams getting that level of exposure. Secondly (and I think this is important) is the event driven format of one game per day – I often get asked who is playing tonight.

    For context we don’t live in an area with a first class county so they have no competing affiliation.

    Unquestionably live at the ground it was well done – I was impressed by the free kids coaching at the Ageas for example. Having taken them both to international games also they both would prefer to go to watch the hundred next year than any other cricket surprisingly.

    I’m not sure what the answer to this is – my only point is I now have 2 youngsters interested where they hadn’t been previously.

    • Thank you for these personal experiences Steve. That’s exactly what I’m interested in hearing about the Hundred–WHY the people who are engaging with it, are doing so.

      Two other questions: have you asked your girls directly why they would prefer to go to the Hundred than any other type of cricket? And has it inspired them to start playing (or want to next year) too?

      • Thanks for your reply Ian.

        To answer your questions on the playing side a 50% success rate – my youngest is signed up for her schools cricket club (we’re lucky I know given it’s a state primary school).

        On the why – when we spoke about it they both said the hundred was more ‘fun’. When pressed on this (and I realise this won’t be popular) things like the stadium host, music etc were mentioned). They also mentioned the scoreboard was easier to follow. I would also say that the stadium set up at the Ageas lends itself well to things with the wide concourses that you can still see the pitch from. Finally they mentioned the lack of the womens game being a part of their reasoning. Realistically I don’t have much longer term enthusiasm that they will ever sit and watch England / Essex / Surrey score 230/6 over the course of a day.

        Also they mentioned more generally that having a short tournament with a small number of teams made it feel like they could keep track of what was going on.

        Separately I went with a friend to the Hundred final yesterday. There were a few takeaways that are worth mentioning…
        1) The womens attendance of 21,000
        2) The amount of people (not just kids) wearing replica shirts (it was a lot so there is obviously some affiliation building)
        3) Far from being a rowdy night the bar queues were noticeably shorter than they are for England games
        4) The way each team brought their own announcer/DJ made it seem like a home game for each team – seemed a nice touch

        Realise I’ve written a lot. I’m still sceptical of the point of the Hundred but it is clearly cutting through in places. Happy to respond to any points

    • Steve
      Do you mind my asking roughly how much the day cost you. I am sure that’s another reason for the success of the short form of the game – especially with the myriad discounts and promotions – given that a day of Test cricket at Lord’s, for example, can cost up to £160.

      • For the game at the Ageas I took my kids to the adult ticket was around £20 and the kids £5 each.

        The final was £70 but was in the new Edrich stand so I assume cheaper tickets were available

  • Hi – I wrote the piece above. Thanks to those that have read and commented. I’ve enjoyed reading them all.
    I think Ian makes a good point about questioning “Why” the Hundred exists – whereas I was focusing more on the How. As I say I do enjoy elements of the Hundred but you do wonder what the long term point/viability of the various franchise tournaments are in the face of the IPL.
    This might be wishful thinking as to whether it would work but I do sometimes wonder if English cricket should lean in to its strengths a bit more. It’s never going to complete with the IPL so why not boost the strength of the Championship and create the best 4-day comp in the world. For example allowing 3, even 4 overseas players. From what I can tell Sheffield Shield is probably the highest standard First Class cricket (I don’t know enough about the Ranji trophy) but the Championship seems fairly unique in having a biggish fanbase and historically the Championship has been more popular. Division One could be pretty much Test standard if they allowed more overseas and concentrated English talent. It could also benefit those players starved of red ball cricket due to the Future Tours Schedule – Ireland, West Indies etc. Maybe that’s an article for another day…

    Interesting to read Steve’s comments too. I do feel one of the good things about the Hundred is the condensed schedule. In terms of my own engagement – throughout August I found myself popping the women’s game on in the afternoon when I’m working. Or putting the radio commentary on when doing the Washing Up in the evening. Not glued to every ball but having a good idea of how the competition is progressing. I follow Championship and Blast etc closely but it helps having coverage focused on one game.

    • Also – just to make myself unpopular. I mentioned in the article about making the link stronger between counties and Hundred Teams. These are the counties I would link to each Hundred Team so they’d have to select domestic players from these counties:
      Superchargers – Durham and Yorks
      Originals – Lancs and Derbys
      Invincibles – Surrey and Kent
      Spirit – Middlesex and Essex
      Brave – Hants and Sussex
      (Western) Fire – Glamorgan, Gloucs and Somerset
      Phoenix – Warks, Worcs and Northants
      Rockets – Notts and Leics


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