The England and Wales Cricket Board (RCB) is planning to introduce a unique format of cricket where each team is expected to face 100 balls as part of a revamped domestic competition in 2020. The proposed format for a new eight-team tournament would see each team face 15 six-ball overs as well as another 10 deliveries to make up a tally of 100 balls. However, the ECB hasn’t clarified that at which point of the innings the 10 extra bowls will be bowled by one bowler or more.
In Twenty20 cricket, each team faces 120 deliveries, which is currently the shortest form of the game played at domestic level by major cricketing nations. Talking about the new format, ECB chairman Tom Harrison said, “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.”
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He further added, “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. 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.”
ECB Chief Commercial Officer Sanjay Patel added “the other ten balls will add a fresh tactical dimension” to the game.
In a statement, the ECB said broadcasters and players have been consulted about the new format. It represents a huge change in the game, which has used six-ball overs as standard since 1979-80. Before that, overs of four, five, six and eight balls were used at various stages throughout the years.
The ECB introduced Twenty20 cricket in 2003 and now wants to bring in a new format, which will feature 40 less deliveries per match than T20s. While 100-ball cricket would become the shortest format in a domestic cricket, shorter formats have been played around the world previously in other countries.
However, the Emirates Cricket Board conducted a 10-overs-a-side competition was staged in the UAE last year. And the annual Hong Kong Sixes tournament sees each team face a maximum of five six-ball overs.
The ECB has already confirmed that Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham will be the venues for the new five-week competition, which starts in 2020.