Sports Gazette

by sports journalism students at St Mary's University, London

How successful will The Hundred be?

Posted on 24 June 2021 by Myles McDevitt

In just over a months time the inaugural Hundred cricket competition will get underway. 

The first match is scheduled to be between Oval Invincibles and Manchester Originals in the women’s competition, while the men’s tournament will kick off 24 hours later with the same game.

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This is the first season of the Hundred after the competition was put back from last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The tournament is aimed at those who are new to cricket and it is hoped that the format will work successfully.

However, many are against the competition saying that it could ruin county cricket and that a new format for the game of cricket is pointless.

So what does everyone think about the competition?

Women’s competition to run alongside the mens 

The Hundred will see both women’s and men’s matches held on the same day apart from the first two fixtures. The double header concept has been welcomed by all saying that it will give women’s cricket even greater exposure.

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Former England cricketer, Monty Panesar has also said that the competition will be massive for women’s cricket.

“This is going to be massive for women’s cricket because the first game is a women’s game. It’s equal pay and it’s also massive for the gender pay gap.

“Some people argue that in tennis that women don’t get the same income as men but it is brilliant to see both women and men get the same income.”

The fact that the tournament will have equal pay is highly significant given that women’s sport has suffered massively due to pandemic. With the Hundred embracing gender equality, it seems that the tournament will go off without a glitch.

However, there are some that are highly opposed to the concept.

Opposition to the tournament

In sport, detractors will always appear and this competition certainly has them with some highly negative responses from the world of cricket. This includes India captain Virat Kohli who rejected the idea of a new format expressing his concerns about the increasing  commercialisation of the sport. 

Another individual who is against the tournament happening is former England cricketer, Roland Butcher. Butcher made his test debut in the early 1980s for England and was one of the  first black players to play for England.

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Butcher sees the competition as a watered-down version against other formats of cricket.

“I believe it’s going to be a dilution of what’s available at the moment, you have international cricket, first class cricket, T20 Blast, T10s.

“I’m not absolutely certain this is what cricket needs, I would of preferred if they tried to improve some of the tournaments that they had already and make it a standout tournament.”

There was also controversy of changing ‘wickets’ to ‘outs’ which divided opinion on social media and is something that baffled Butcher.

“The game of cricket all around the world has got used to the whole idea of wickets.” Butcher said.

“The fact they wanted to try and do something completely different and have outs, I’m not sure if it sounds right for me.”

How the tournament can be a success 

The Hundred’s core aim when announced was to attract a new set of fans to the game from a younger generation.

The English Cricket Board (ECB) is hoping to capitalise on the success of both England’s men and women in the past few years.

Will Wright, a county cricketer for Lindum Cricket Club in Lincolnshire is  hopeful that the new competition will see increased level of excitement and interest in the game.

“The Hundred was obviously coming in this year. It’s sparking new interest and hopefully bringing people who  weren’t necessarily interested in cricket to become interested,” said Wright.

“I think it’s really important that we do spark the fun and the excitement of cricket because now cricket really is competing against other sports, but it’s an entertainment industry now it’s not just sport anymore.

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“I think athletes, players, they’re there to entertain it’s almost going to be on performance these days.”

One of the huge advantages that this tournament will have is that there will be terrestrial coverage from the BBC who will screen ten live matches from the men’s competition and eight live matches from the women’s competition.

With just under a month to go The Hundred will be raring to spring into life after being delayed for almost a year.

And while it may have its detractors, it will be intriguing to see how the wider public responds to the tournament.