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The key questions and answers on 100-ball cricket

An unconventional format for the ECB’s new short-form tournament in two years’ time has prompted much discussion.

The England and Wales Cricket Board has announced its long-discussed new Twenty20 tournament will in fact use a 100-ball format.

Here, Press Association Sport looks at the burning issues around the new approach.

Hang, on, 100 balls? So that’s… how many overs is that?

Sixteen-point-four. Except there’s a twist! Each innings will consist of 15 standard six-ball overs, and “another 10 balls” in some arrangement.

Is this instead of the new Twenty20 tournament, or as well?

Instead. Apparently Twenty20 is so 2018, so in 2020 everyone will play 15-and-10. The tournament will run alongside the established T20 Blast, but feature eight city-based franchise teams rather than the 18 first-class counties.

Isn’t this just T20, but slightly shorter?

Yes, although the spare 10 balls make for a curveball. The ECB’s initial “concept” is that this will be a final 10-ball over, placing more emphasis and pressure on death bowlers such as domestic specialists Tom Curran and Chris Jordan and international recruits which could potentially include the likes of Australia’s James Faulkner, India’s Bhuvneshwar Kumar and maybe even Sri Lanka slinger Lasith Malinga. Stuart Broad, speaking to Sky Sports News after the launch of the tournament, quipped: “I think I’d prefer the first set!”

Tom Curran

There is not yet a firm commitment to this structure, though, with the 10 balls billed as “a fresh tactical dimension” and the competition’s managing director Sanjay Patel encouraging “debate” on the issue – could a bowler, having taken two quick wickets, opt to extend his over by two or three balls? Much remains to be seen.

So is this the ECB’s attempt to reclaim the short format?

Perhaps. Having first marketed the Twenty20 game in 2003, the national governing body has seen its competition overtaken by the razzmatazz of the Indian Premier League and Australia’s Big Bash League.

The new format may be viewed as a gimmick but the ECB is billing it as the latest move in “maintaining our game’s history of successful innovation” – mind you, the announcement also describes 100-ball cricket as “a simple approach”, which will surprise any student of the six-times table.

What will this do to players’ statistics?

England Nets and Press Conference – Day One – Sydney Cricket Ground

When Twenty20 was first established, it took some time to establish what was a good average, strike rate, economy and so forth. There will be an obvious cross-over with this format but it will be different again – a player scoring a century in the new competition can point to it as evidence of his worth to potential IPL employers or his national T20 team, but will not have the boost to his records to show for it. And the extra 10 balls, regardless of how they are allocated, will make economy rates a potentially baffling proposition.

Who will benefit?

The ECB is banking on a financial boost, which will also be felt by the players involved and those in charge of the eight teams. Another goal is to help develop the women’s game, with men’s and women’s competitions running in parallel as the ECB seeks to build on the buzz developed by last year’s World Cup win. And as Broad also noted, families with younger children will welcome the slight reduction in playing time which could mean games finish around 9pm.

When will the tournament be played?

There will be “a five-week window in the middle of the summer” dedicated to the tournament, according to the ECB’s announcement, but negotiations have not been finalised and much will depend on broadcasters Sky and the BBC. The aim will surely be to schedule the tournament during the school holidays, and hopefully the best weather of the summer.

How has it been received by the public?

Not so well.

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