22 Aug

The ECB's outgoing chairman Colin Graves has said that the BCCI had been in touch with him to find out more about the Hundred, whose launch was postponed this July to 2021 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Hundred, the ECB's brainchild, was created as an eight-team 100-ball competition, which Graves said is meant for a "new audience" comprising mainly "women, children, families, which really had not come to cricket." The ECB believes the Hundred has the potential to create "millions" in revenue which in turn would be utilised to help develop the grassroots game in England.

Although the Hundred has polarised opinion, Graves claimed that it had created a buzz abroad and countries like India were curious about it.

"I know that some of the countries abroad, India in particular, are looking at their own," Graves told Sky Sports, on the first day of the final Test between England and Pakistan in Southampton. "They have been talking to me about it for the last year on a regular basis. So around the world it has created a lot of excitement."

The BCCI has never commented on the tournament and instead has focused on exploring ways to expand the IPL, which has become a global tournament with its own window in the cricket calendar. It has explored the possibility of staging a mini-IPL, but an increasingly crowded calendar has made that difficult.

In 2018, Indian captain Virat Kohli told the Wisden Cricket Monthly he "cannot think of one more format" adding "I feel somewhere the commercial aspect is taking over the real quality of cricket and that hurts me."

Manoj Badale, the majority owner at IPL franchise Rajasthan Royals said, on BBC’s Test Match Special on Friday, that the ECB should pursue getting Indian players to feature in the Hundred as a "priority".

"For the Hundred to maximise its potential in this country participation from Indian players would have to be top of my list of things to try and achieve," Badale said. "It might take some, but it is a huge strategic priority. If we can embrace India and get those Indian eyeballs, watching the tournament here in the UK it is fantastic for the game here."

Although the Hundred is currently owned completely by ECB, in the wake of the hit the economy has taken from the pandemic, there is a possibility of the board revisiting the topic of private investment. If that happens, Venky Mysore, the chief executive officer at Red Chillies Entertainment, which owns the Kolkata Knight Riders franchise in IPL, said he could look at "evaluating" the prospects of owning a stake in one of the teams in the Hundred. "[Private investment] would make the tournament much bigger," Mysore had said.

John Stephenson


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