The Hundred T20 League set to launch in 2020
The ECB is set to launch a new T20 tournament in the UK in 2020 but unlike the Vitality T20 Blast, this new T20 city Cricket English tournament will not be based on the county circuit. The tournament will be played from July 2020 and will last over 38 days, hence going into August 2020.
The new, proposed T20 competition which will be played in the UK will essentially not be a T20 tournament if reports are to be believed. Each of the innings will be 100 balls long, with bowlers allowed to bowl five or 10 consecutive balls.
One of the reasons for this so-called new format of the competition is to distinguish itself from the Vitality T20 Blast, formerly known as the NatWest T20 Blast, which will still run in conjunction with this yet-to-be-named 100-ball format tournament.
Speaking to the media, the ECB chairman Tom Harrison announced, “This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game. Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process. We will continue to do that as the concept evolves.”
According to another board member, the additional 10 balls are expected to inject a “tactical dimension” to the game.
The Hundred T20 Teams
The new T20 tournament that the ECB has proposed will be based on the lines of the Indian Premier League and the Big Bash League with a total of eight teams in action. These city-based T20 teams will cover regions in the country rather than the counties as has been the case in the NatWest T20 Blast and they will have names on the lines of how T20 tournaments around the world have – catchy. The eight teams are as follows;
- Manchester Originals
- Birmingham Phoenix
- Northern Superchargers
- Trent Rockets
- Welsh Fire
- Oval Invincibles
- London Spirit
- Southern Brave
They will play their respective home matches at Old Trafford in Manchester, Headingley in Leeds, Edgbaston in Birmingham, Trent Bridge in Nottingham, Sophia Gardens in Cardiff, Lord’s and The Oval in London and the Ageas Bowl in Southampton
Each of the sides will play eight games, i.e. four at home and four away. This means every team will play six of the seven other teams once and the seventh side on two separate occasions. These will be followed by four playoff matches including the final.
What’s known so far is that the players will be selected in a Draft-like format instead of the Auction as is used in the Indian Premier League. The Draft is used in the Pakistan Super League and the Caribbean Premier League.
Each team will be allowed to sign up for 15 players. A total of three overseas players can be signed up by each of the eight sides. 13 of these 15 players will be selected via the Draft while two players will be wild-cards, selected from the NatWest T20 Blast that will be played just before it.
How to watch The Hundred tournament live?
Sky Sport is the official broadcasters of this new English t20 competition, The Hundred, and will broadcast all the 38 matches. However, 10 of the men’s matches will also be telecast on BBC and the online streaming options will be revealed soon too. Also, the tournament will be broadcast to the other parts of the world live.
Main England Players to feature in the Tournament
According to the latest news in England cricket, the country’s Test players could be allowed feature in a special auction designed to ensure participation in the T20 league supposed to be starting in 2020. The English T20 tournament is yet to be named.
A document circulated in British media contains specific clauses that outline an additional draft for the Test players in the national team who were previously thought to be unavailable for the original auction for the league.
Additionally, the document also holds the promise that each of the 18 counties will receive a minimum of £1.3 million from the England and Wales Cricket Board, despite the fact that they will be playing no part in the competition – which should allow the ECB a guarantee that the counties will release their players.
As the proposed competition is to be held in July and August, it was assumed that players on national duty would not be able to take part in it. However, it has since been clarified that should the possibility arise for them to play in the league, a separate draft will be organised for the likes of Joe Root and Ben Stokes.
The first of its kind draft puts the best of English talent on display in the hopes of getting the crowds in for the games. Each of the 8 teams will be allowed to pick 13 players from six pay bands named from A to F, combined with three overseas players per team.
Preemptive guesses made by the board suggest only about five players from each county will be offered a place in the new league. To add opportunities for the 150 plus county cricketers who would be left out by the initial draft, the league will allow wild card entries for two cricketers per team after the county NatWest Blast Twenty20.
Very specific rules have been drawn up for the draft, some of which allow teams to swap players in a 24-hour window after the initial auction so that they can balance squads. Teams will also be allowed the first bids on specific pay bands on a rotational basis, meaning a team which picks the first players in a round will be able to take only the last player in the next round.
Contracts will be for one year only but with the option of a second year at higher pay. Players whose clubs do not take up the option to renew their contracts will go back into the auction for the next year. A club can only retain eight players at most but will also need to retain four players at least from the first season into the next.
Coaches are also a budgeted item with the local ones free to work at any local venue of their choice.
An independent medical body will be set up to check and report on the injuries of players. This is being done so that clubs with seriously afflicted squads can address the issue by signing a replacement subject to the approval of the medical body.
A total of 36 matches over 38 days is being planned. Weekends with no Test cricket being played are being targeted so that two matches a day can take place on such dates to capitalise on the TV audience and build a following for the new league.