17 of the 18 first-class cricket counties of England have given their backing to the England and Wales Cricket Board’s new competition, The Hundred, with Surrey the only county understood to have voted against the proposal.
The required two-thirds majority was easily cleared, although Surrey’s hold out is a blow to the ECB, which is reported to be considering stripping Surrey’s home ground, the Oval, of hosting rights for the competition.
The Oval, situated in south-west London, is the second-biggest cricket ground in the country and regularly attracts sell-out crowds for Twenty20 fixtures, but ECB chief executive Tom Harrison could not confirm that it would be involved, saying only that discussions between the ECB and Surrey were ongoing, The Guardian reports.
The Hundred would introduce a new format to the sport, scrapping the traditional overs system and instead seeing each team bowl 100-ball innings, broken into blocks of ten. A number of other innovations are planned to make the format more accessible to a wider audience, such as the inclusion of strategic timeouts for the bowling side and a 25-ball ‘Powerplay’ at the start of each innings.
Harrison has repeatedly spoken of the importance of the new competition to attracting new fans to cricket, and said that today’s backing from the counties would help to create “an important opportunity for the whole game.”
The eight city-based teams set to compete in the inaugural edition of the Hundred next year will be confirmed later in the summer, while a player draft will take place in the autumn.
Last year, SportBusiness reported that costs for the competition had spiralled, potentially reaching £40m (€45m/$52m), over three times the initial estimate of £13m.