The ECB has moved quell mounting speculation around possible innovations for The Hundred by issuing a statement to say that “no final decisions have been made” about the new competition planned for 2020.
Following a string of reports last week suggesting that the idea for a ten-ball final over had been ditched, Tuesday saw two national newspapers carry stories about the number of players in a team: the Telegraph suggested 12, while the Times said proposals could go up to 15. The concept was likened to that of the Super Sub used briefly in international cricket during the 2000s.
With trial games for the 100-ball format scheduled for September, there has been increasing debate about the ECB’s plans – which could also encompass bringing 10-over cricket to the UK. In response, the ECB issued a statement to say discussions were ongoing.
“No final decisions have been made on the playing conditions for the new competition, which will start in the summer of 2020. To develop the competition, there are a number of ongoing discussions, including within a high-performance group who are planning a series of pilot matches in September.
“Conversations with players, host venues and stakeholders across the game are vital to the development and inevitably lead to speculation on a range of matters. Ultimately, it is the board of the ECB which makes the final decisions on the format and playing conditions for the new competition and that is expected later this year.”
The high-performance group, chaired by former England women’s captain Clare Connor, is expected to put its recommendations to the board in November.
Meanwhile, Mark Wood, the England fast bowler, added to the sense of uncertainty around the new competition when talking on BBC Radio 5 Live. Saying he had discussed it with Dwayne Bravo, West Indies’ much-travelled T20 veteran, Wood questioned whether international stars would be interested in playing an untested format.
“I’m not sure these big players would be necessarily open to it straight away anyway,” Wood said. “I spoke to Bravo, who I played with at the IPL, and he wasn’t interested in the 100-ball at all.
“So if the big players already in the IPL, they can see that game’s working – the 100-ball thing, they’re unsure, who’s to say they’re going to come straight away? They might be apprehensive and then we can’t attract the big players.”