What is #TheHundred and is it a Good Thing for Cricket?

Good Evening!

Welcome to a new post here at zoelouisesmithx.com! Today’s post is very different to my regular horse racing posts, but we all love a little bit of variety right?

So as we are all aware by now, the new cricket tournament #TheHundred has kicked off and it is being heavily spoken about all over the country by cricket lovers and cricket haters. Now if you seen my Twitter this week you’ll have seen I used to play cricket myself for Warwickshire, I was the first 12 year old to hit a century as well as in my final season playing I finished the top bowler in the whole country and watching the England vs Pakistan T20 series really made me miss playing and then now with #TheHundred I am definitely missing it. So I thought as a cricket lover and ex player why not have a little look at the new tournament.

Personally I think it’s brilliant when a sport comes out with new and exciting concepts to attract a wider audience. Many people have a negative concept of cricket, with many saying it’s a boring sport, however in more recent times we have a lot of people slowly changing their mind thanks to the likes of Ben Stokes and his antics and in the recent T20’s Liam Livingstone. So a new, exciting concept may just help to change more opinions.

So what is #TheHundred? Essentially it is normal cricket but different. 100 balls, 5 or 10 per turn from a bowler – this decision is down to the captain, however each player can only bowl 20 balls per game and no matter what after 10 balls the teams swap ends. If someone is caught out, even if the batsmen cross the new batsman faces the next ball. Each team has 1 review and the power play is the first 25 balls of each inning. Essentially a power play means the fielding team can only have 2 players outside of the inner circle – once the power play ends they can have an additional 3 for the men meaning 5 are allowed outside of the inner circle and 2 for the women meaning 4 are allowed outside of the inner circle. However the fielding team is only given 1 hour and 5 minutes to bowl their 100 balls, if they are not into their last 5 balls when that 1 hour and 5 minutes hits then the team have to bring a player into the inner circle. Another new change is that the fielding team can call a 2 minute time out, this is to be called by the captain and here the coach can come onto the pitch and discuss tactics with the team. Only 1 can be called and it can be called at any point in the 100 balls.

Essentially 2 points are awarded for a win, 1 point for a tie or no result and 0 points for a loss. The team who finishes at the top of the group will go straight into the final with the second and third placed teams playing an eliminator match to reach the final.

So who are the teams? We have Birmingham Phoenix playing out of Edgbaston in Birmingham, London Spirit playing out of Lords in London, Manchester Originals playing at Old Trafford in Manchester, Northern Superchargers playing out of Headingly in Leeds, Oval Invincibles playing out of the Oval in London, Southern Brave playing out of the Ageas Bowl in Southampton, Trent Rockets playing out of Trent Bridge in Nottingham and finally Welsh Fire playing out of Sophia Gardens in Cardiff.

There is a male tournament and a female tournament with most being double headers when you attend, so if you buy tickets you get to see both games, which I think is great!

So what do I think? As a female who used to play cricket I think it’s brilliant for the women’s game. On Wednesday evening, they allowed the women to open the tournament in a stand alone game – no male game after. And I thought that was brilliant to see because the female game has never been taken as serious as the men. And across BBC 2, Sky Sports Cricket, Main Event and Mix there was a peak audience of 1.95 million with a huge 3.8 million in total. Now for me those figures are ridiculous. It is the most watched female game of cricket in the UK for domestic and international. Never in my life time did I think I’d see the day where a women’s game has that sort of audience.

I love cricket and I think #TheHundred is a brilliant concept. There’s been a one male and one female game so far and I’ve found myself really enjoying them. Tonight I have actually been invited by Warwickshire to Edgbaston to watch Birmingham Phoenix take on London Spirit. Unfortunately I was working today so I couldn’t make the ladies game this afternoon but I’m grateful I get to witness the men’s game tonight and I have also been invited to Edgbaston again by Warwickshire – thank you so much to their behind the scenes team for the invite for myself and my family – on August 4th for the male and female game. So if you see me there come and say hi!

I’m actually really happy that a regular channel like BBC have got behind this concept, it means a lot more people have access to the game now opposed to it only being shown on paid TV channels. I have heard – do not quote me on this as no official sources have announced it – but BBC have apparently got a contract with #TheHundred until 2024. Which, if true, is brilliant for the game!

I like the concept so far, I think it’s brilliant, it’s fresh and it has done what it was supposed to do by attracting a wider, newer audience so you can’t complain with that at all. After a rough 18 months for absolutely everybody it is brilliant seeing a full crowd able to watch live sport at an affordable price, world class players and games all up and down the country so everybody can get to a local-ish stadium to watch. I also love shorter cricket games, for me personally I have always loved the shorter game over a test match for example – please don’t judge me if you are more traditional. The T20 series are brilliant and #TheHundred is very much similar to that, it’s a little shorter, a few different rules but still very much entertaining and they have managed to get some of the biggest players in the world involved so we are definitely going to have an entertaining few weeks of cricket!

What I will say is if you are reading this and you’ve never watched cricket then do give this new tournament a watch and you might find yourself enjoying it!

Of course not everybody is going to like this new format, I completely understand that, but I believe people should be giving it a chance before judging it so harshly. We’ve had 2 games, mega crowds, plenty of people watching at home and both games we’ve seen so far have been brilliant games going right to the wire and that’s what cricket is all about in my opinion.

Don’t get me wrong, I was sceptical before it started, I didn’t really understand how it would work or if it would work, but now they have took the time on both BBC, Sky etc to explain the rules and differences to regular cricket I have really got into it.

The only negative thing I do want to mention the fact that not every game is available on BBC Two which is disappointing. If their aim is to gain a new audience surely they should broadcast every game so people can really follow their team and follow the group stages and see who is where. Not a huge deal but just something I thought I’d mention.

If you have watched it let me know what you think, if you haven’t then do consider watching a game and seeing what you think. Also please do not only watch the men’s games; the women are super talented and the opening game was such an entertaining one. There are some amazing women in the tournament so give it and them a chance.

That being said that is it for today’s extra midweek post. I know it’s different to my regular posts but I do want to get more into sharing other sports and other interests I have. I started my website so I could write about things I love and cricket is something I love so I thought I would share. This may become a more regular thing as I have recently re-found my love for other sports and want to share my knowledge and opinions! Let me know what else you’d all like to see – if anything in particular whether it be racing, cricket, football – anything sport related!

I will see you all tomorrow morning at 11am for my regular horse racing update!

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