What is ‘The Hundred’?

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The Hundred
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If you thought creativity could only be shown on canvas or typewriter, you were ‘SO WRONG!’ If you looked at the creativity implied while making the rules of ‘The Hundred’ you would understand how fascinating it could be. 

This is not about advertising the league, but discussing how one can play a sport, for entertainment, popularity, showbiz, and ultimately revenue. 

What is the Hundred?

The England and Wales Cricket Board established The Hundred, an eight-team competition, with the goal of attracting a younger and more varied audience while also assembling the top domestic and international players.

The eight teams are split among seven different cities in the UK: Cardiff (Southern Brave), Leeds (Northern Superchargers), Manchester (Manchester Originals), Birmingham (Birmingham Phoenix), London (London Spirit & Oval Invincibles), Manchester (Manchester Originals), Nottingham (Trent Rockets), Southampton (Southern Brave), and Leeds (Welsh Fire). There are men’s and women’s sides to each.

What is interesting is how the league has changed the rules of cricket. It feels like another game that is played with the resources present in the cricket ground. There is a bat, ball, stumps, and a cricket pitch involved, but it doesn’t feel like the cricket we are familiar with. 

Here are The Rules Of How The Hundred is Played:

  • 100 balls per innings
  • A change of ends after 10 balls
  • Bowlers deliver either five or 10 consecutive balls
  • Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game
  • Each bowling side gets a strategic time-out of up to two and a half minutes
  • A 25-ball powerplay start for each team
  • Two fielders are allowed outside the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay
  • Teams will be able to call time-outs, as has been the case in the IPL since 2009
  • The non-striker must return to their original end after a caught dismissal
  • No-balls are worth two runs and a free hit
  • Slow over-rates are penalized by one fewer fielder being permitted outside the ring for the final over.

There are 15 players on each male and female squad, with a maximum of four foreign players allowed. A draft method, which is typical in other franchise leagues, is used to sign players. Each of the teams taking part in The Hundred has at least one member from the England cricket team on its roster. For the 2022 season, each team is subject to a £1,000,000 salary cap.

How ‘The Hundred’ has changed the cricket scene?

In a time when people do not indulge in activities that would take up most of the day, the proposal of The Hundred came up to bring the newer audiences into cricket stadiums. The idea was to compete with popular sports like Football and Basketball that have a huge following. 

The league did bring a lot of new spectators to the stadium. It was reported that in the inaugural season, 55% of the audience were people who had never bought a ticket for a cricket game before.

It was much appreciated by the cricket fraternity for its uniqueness but also brought criticism for its ‘commercialization’ which is becoming dominant with each passing day. 

After IPL, the idea was to create a league in England and that is how ‘The Hundred’ came up. The objective was to use the revenue to enhance the facility for domestic cricket for women. That is why the men’s and women’s games are approached just the same with no disparity between the number of games and the prize money given at the end of the tournament. 

The tournament has helped in reducing the gap between the men’s and women’s games as more people came in to watch women play the game which is not usually the case. It was even held responsible for ‘single-handedly’ changing the sport for women in the country by Charlotte Edwards.

With leagues popping in each country every day, the hundred did feel like a revolution. It is good for the newer audience but surely an irritation for the purist cricket fans who have learned to meditate with each passing ball of Test match cricket. The commercialization and the showbiz involved is surely something that will always be slacked but if it is for the greater good of the game or enhancing the facility for Women’s cricket then it will find its place in mainstream viewership.

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