Six of One looks at the serious sporting issues from the week.
This week we delve into cricket’s newest proposed format of 100-ball matches and whether this is the right way forward for the game.
The England and Wales Cricket Board last week announced it was considering bringing a fourth format into the sport. The concept sees innings made up of 15 standard six-ball overs and a final 10-ball over.
The reaction from the cricket public was one of division – one side believing this is a fresh approach to attracting a new audience and broadcaster’s attention with cricket numbers dwindling in recent years, while the other side see it as adding more cricket to an already demanding schedule and overcomplicating an already complicated game.
Cricket now has 5 day,4 day,3 day,2 day,50 overs,40 overs,20 overs,T10 league,Hong sixes & 100 ball comp …… Good luck understanding our great game !!!!!!! #OnOn
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) April 19, 2018
This drastic change would be the biggest since T20 matches were introduced in 2003 with the intention then to speed the game up and appeal to a younger demographic. So should the ECB be bringing in a shorter format while there is one in place already? What effect will this have on the under-threat Test cricket?
While the proposed 100-ball game might bring in a new audience and welcomed investment it similarly could alienate its most loyal supporters while obscuring the identity of cricket in the process.
There is no shortage of adversaries to the new 100-ball game including most of country championship sides, the Professional Cricketers Association (PCA) and much of the every day cricket fan. This opposed camp are ready to sharpen their pitchforks if this format is to go ahead in 2020.
But there is a shining light for the supporters of this inventive format with a number of players giving their backing, with the likes of England stars Alastair Cook, Stuart Broad and Joe Root coming out and stating they ‘understand’ the need to appeal to a younger audience and freshen up the game.
The famous trio and other backers of the new game feel England need to compete with other successful international tournaments such as the Big Bash and IPL with the T20 Blast not able to match these tournaments’ sheer financial and commercial power.
Those backing this new format feel 100-ball cricket is the answer to matching and ultimately bettering these international competitions, which has seen such growth in the sport for the host nations.
Despite the thought of the 100-ball game being introduced dividing opinion no matter which camp you stand in, everyone seems to be united in their belief that Test cricket needs to be protected in whatever future cricket has going forward.
Is 100-ball cricket the answer?
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All image sources from PA Images