'A Century Is Enough': ECB planning 100-balls-a side city league
London: The duration of a game of cricket is set to shrink further with England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) planning an even shorter format where two teams will face 100 balls in an innings.
Till now, Twenty20 is the shortest official format where each team plays 120 deliveries. However ECB now wants a new city-based competition, as per the proposal released on Thursday.
According to a report "The concept proposes two eight-team competitions — for men's and women's teams — consisting of 15 traditional six-ball overs, and a final 10-ball over, a 20-delivery shortfall on traditional T20 matches."
The proposed approach was presented by the ECB to the chairmen and chief executives of the first-class counties and MCC on Thursday, and has been unanimously supported by the board of the new competition.
The ECB confirmed that Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham are the host cities for the five-week competition, with Lord's and The Oval each playing host to a London-based team.
"This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game," said Tom Harrison, the ECB's Chief Executive Officer.
"Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process. We will continue to do that as the concept evolves. Our game has a history of innovation and we have a duty to look for future growth for the health and sustainability of the whole game," he was quoted as saying.
"There are 18 First Class Counties, playing red and white ball cricket, at our core and these Counties and competitions will be supported, promoted and benefit from the game's growth."
The proposal, which is radical in nature is ECB's attempt to carve a niche for their marquee franchisee-based event, different from popular T20 leagues like IPL or Big Bash.
Curtailing 20 balls per innings will ensure that the match is finished in a three-hour window.
However, the proposed 10-ball final over will require approval of game's custodian MCC as Law 17.1 currently states: "The ball shall be bowled from each end alternately in overs of 6 balls."
Sanjay Patel, the ECB's chief commercial officer, and MD for the new competition, said: "The development team has had strong support and encouragement in its conversations to date and it's time to take the concept wider as we build the detail.
"This is 100-ball cricket, a simple approach to reach a new generation. Based on 15 traditional six-ball overs, the other ten balls will add a fresh tactical dimension.
The five-week competition will feature both men's and women's team in concurrent competitions, as the ECB seek to build on the explosion of interest in women's cricket since the World Cup win in 2017. "Our World Cup win at Lord's last July showed what's possible in terms of our sport reaching a new, younger and more diverse audience," said Clare Connor, the ECB's Director of Women's Cricket.