The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has made an audacious dive into the unknown with The Hundred — a diet version of the ubiquitous T20 format — that begins in the summer of 2020 and comprises eight teams competing against each other across seven cities in England. The tournament that hopes to make cricket accessible for the whole family, has attracted a bevy of high-profile names.
However, behind the razzmatazz of Sunday's big-ticket draft in London, came the shocking news of Chris Gayle's omission. The 40-year-old West Indies opener, who entered the draft at the highest price of £125,000, went unpicked. Gayle was not alone. Veteran Sri Lankan pacer Lasith Malinga and South Africa's bowling lynchpin Kagiso Rabada were also snubbed. Here's a look at everything you need to know about England's ambitious 100-ball project.
How does The Hundred work?
The match will have a total of 200 legal deliveries with 100 deliveries per innings.
Each over will consist of 10 deliveries.
Each team will bat for 100 deliveries with a change of bowling ends taking place after every 10 deliveries.
Bowlers will bowl either five or 10 consecutive deliveries but no more than 20 per match.
Each fielding side gets the chance to call for a strategic timeout for upto 150 seconds.
During the timeout, a coach can walk out to the middle and discuss strategies with his players.
A 25-ball powerplay will start each team's innings, during which only two fielders will be allowed outside the 30-yard circle.
What are the names of the eight teams?
They are: Trent Rockets (Trent Bridge), Southern Brave (The Ageas Bowl), Northern Superchargers (Emerald Headingley), Welsh Fire (Sophia Gardens), Oval Invincibles (The Kia Oval), Manchester Originals (Emirates Old Trafford), London Spirit (Lord's) and Birmingham Phoenix (Edgbaston).
What's the need for this format?
With matches lasting less than three hours, The Hundred is aimed at making the game more accessible to a wider audience, namely the mothers and kids. Also, with the advent of more popular T20 leagues across the globe such as the Indian Premier League, the ECB wanted to create its own prototype, one that's unique and stood out from the rest.
What are the immediate challenges?
The format must have the box-office players to rival IPL and silence critics who fear that the game's future will get compromised.
How does the draft work?
The Hundred draft, unlike the IPL, is not an auction. Each of the eight teams will have two picks from seven rounds. Trent Rockets will make the first pick in the opening round. The order is then reversed from the second round. The draft will end with each team selecting 14 players plus their England player. They have 100 seconds to make their choice in each round.
How much can teams splurge?
They will have a cap of £990,000 (over Rs 9 crore) on salaries for their 15-member squad. Out of this amount, £30,000 will be reserved till June 2020, when each team gets to select their 'wild card' entry — a talented domestic player, who has performed admirably in the local T20 Vitality Blast.
How many players are in the draft?
There are 570 players registered in Sunday's draft, and each team is permitted to pick three overseas players.
What happened on Sunday's draft?
Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan became the first overseas player picked for the inaugural ‘The Hundred’ competition next year, but T20 stalwarts Chris Gayle and Lasith Malinga were among notable omissions in Sunday’s draft. Rashid, the No. 1 T20 bowler, was picked up by Trent Rockets for the top price of £125,000. Australians were the most sought after at the proceedings, with Steve Smith and Mitchell Starc being recruited by the Welsh Fire for £125,000 each.
Why are teams scrambling for Australians?
That's because the draft looks at international commitments of players for this tournament that runs between July-August 2020. The Australians are free during this month-long window, which explains why they are on top of every team's wish-list. With 53 players, Australia tops the list of overseas entrants, followed by Pakistan with 35. England's Test players will be eligible for the first 10 days of this tournament, as they will be busy playing a bilateral series against Pakistan under the aegis of the World Test championship during that time.
Why are there no Indians in this draft?
There are no Indians in this draft because the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) does not allow their players to participate in such overseas domestic franchise events.