By Adam Ellis
The ECB are considering a 100-ball format to be adopted by the new city-based T20 league set to be launched in 2020.
It has been argued by ECB to the first-class counties chairmen and chief executives that making the league 20 balls shorter than the T20 format would broaden the scope for a new audience to be attracted to the sport.
The shock proposal was voted unanimously by competition organisers and was also presented to broadcasting chiefs on Thursday morning in a meeting at Lord’s.
The ‘countdown’ of 100 balls will see teams bowl 15 overs in the traditional way, before a 10-ball over finishes the innings in a tactical duel.
“This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game,” said Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive. “Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process. We will continue to do that as the concept evolves.
“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.”
As part of the ECB’s plan to enhance cricket’s profile among a younger audience following next year’s Cricket World Cup, the new league will see eight franchises established in the metropolitan areas of London, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds, Nottingham, Cardiff and Southampton.
While television exposure has been guaranteed through a broadcast rights deal being struck with the BBC that runs from the inaugural tournament to 2024.
The 100-ball competition would run in tandem with the Vitality Blast in the county season schedule.