The Hundred: Eight teams, player drafts and famous faces - how the new tournament works
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) once had Twenty20 vision to realise the potential for a new, shorter format to be added to the county structure.
What was set up as a method to attract a younger audience has become a global success worth millions, with T20 competitions springing up around the world - and not just traditional cricket-playing nations, either.
However, the ECB has decided the time is right to embrace change again. In 2020, the English game will see The Hundred come into existence.
Here, we attempt to answer some key questions about the tournament, including the teams involved, the players who are primed to play in it and where the games will take place.
The Hundred - what exactly is it?
A new concept for cricket in England that involves eight teams. A game will have two innings of 100 deliveries each (the clue is in the name).
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There will be a change of end after 10 balls, rather than the usual six. Bowlers can send down five or 10 consecutive balls, while they are limited to 20 in the match. As for the powerplay, that will span 25 deliveries and a maximum of two fielders will be allowed outside the inner circle during that period of play.
It's cricket - just not as we know it.
And when will this take place?
From July 17 to August 16. The schedule – which runs during the school holidays in England – will see the teams play each other once, while each side will take on a 'rival' opponent both home and away, taking the total number of group games for each up to eight.
The top three in the table will then progress through to finals day, where second will play third in a semi-final to decide who will face the top seeds for the title.
What about the names and locations of the teams?
Well, the identities will be announced on Thursday at the initial draft. However, we do at least know the locations.
100 balls. Seven cities. Eight teams. The women’s teams will play across multiple other venues. Which venue is closest to you? #100ballcricket
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The 18 first-class counties have been grouped together in catchment areas based around international venues, two of which are situated in London. The full list is as follows (in alphabetical order):
- Birmingham (Warwickshire and Worcestershire - to play at Edgbaston)
- Cardiff (Glamorgan, Gloucestershire and Somerset - to play at Sophia Gardens)
- Leeds (Yorkshire and Durham - to play at Headingley)
- London (Middlesex, Essex, and Northamptonshire - to play at Lord's)
- London (Surrey and Kent - to plat at The Oval)
- Manchester (Lancashire - to play at Old Trafford)
- Nottingham (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire and Leicestershire - to play at Trent Bridge)
- Southampton (Hampshire and Sussex - to play at the Rose Bowl)
Will England players be appearing in it?
Absolutely! That includes their Test players too, albeit only for a limited stretch due to a home series against Pakistan, which starts on July 30.
The 10 individuals who were handed red-ball contracts for the 2019-20 season are not guaranteed to play for their 'home' teams, however. Each roster will have at least one Test representative, with the chance to choose from the options available from their counties. However, Cardiff and the London franchise based at Lord's have no red-ball options tied to them.
Those with multiple options will have to make a choice on Thursday at the initial draft.
For example, if Leeds opt for all-rounder Ben Stokes (and why wouldn't they?), it means Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root could end up elsewhere, though if they are not chosen by another team, they will automatically be added to their original team's roster.
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As well as Test stars, the teams will have the opportunity to announce two 'icon' players from their catchment, which will also be revealed on Thursday.
This is likely to be when some of the England squad who won the Cricket World Cup on home soil earlier this year will find out whether they will be staying close to home. However, there also could be some lesser-known names - at least globally - rewarded for their T20 performances at county level.
How many players on each team, and what about international signings?
There will be 15-man rosters for the teams to work with, which will be filled out during a further player draft on October 20.
Organisers has revealed some of the registered players already, with the list including World Cup-winning captain Eoin Morgan and England team-mate Moeen Ali.
Australia duo Steve Smith and David Warner will also be involved, along with Pakistan batsman Babar Azam, South Africa wicketkeeper Quinton de Kock and Afghanistan leg-spinner Rashid Khan. Oh, and the evergreen Chris Gayle, of course. It would not be a white-ball event without the 'Universe Boss'...
Do not, however, get excited about the prospect of seeing Virat Kohli or Rohit Sharma playing. India's current internationals are not set to be involved.
Pakistan batting ace @babarazam258 celebrated the return of ODI cricket to National Stadium Karachi by securing a spot on the NSK Honours Board. Well played Babar, we have more space available for you, seal it!#PAKvSL pic.twitter.com/1yaaHUUvRd
— Pakistan Cricket (@TheRealPCB) October 1, 2019
So how does the second player draft work, then?
A draw will decide the order for what will be a snake draft later in the month, meaning positions will be reversed in alternate rounds. Therefore, if you are up first in round one, you will be last second time around.
Each team must pick two players from seven set salary bands, which range from £30,000 to £125,000. Captains, by the way, get a £10,000 bonus.
Players have chosen their own reserve price, meaning they may pitch themselves out of the draft. Still, the biggest names will expect to earn the big money.
A team can pick three overseas recruits and, just prior to the tournament, will complete their 15-man line-ups by adding a wildcard - most likely an individual who impressed in the domestic T20 Blast earlier in the same season.
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