What is The Hundred? When is it? Who is my local team? Who will Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Steve Smith play for?

 In Cricket

After a summer that saw super overs, scintillating speed and Sir Ben Stokes, cricket fans new and old may think the game can’t get more exciting. They’re wrong. The Hundred is a brand new format of the game due to begin next summer.

What is The Hundred?

Despite this year’s instalment of the T20 Blast – England and Wales’s domestic short-form competition – gaining record attendance that culminated in a gripping Finals Day at Edgbaston, the England and Wales Cricket Board will launch a new format of the sport with the ambition of being even quicker and more engaging.

The format is very simple. Each team has 100 balls and the most runs wins.

Who is playing?

Eight brand new teams will compete in the competition, with each team fielding a men’s and women’s side.

The teams are as follows:

Birmingham Phoenix based at Edgbaston, Birmingham (Warwickshire & Worcestershire)
Manchester Originals based at Old Trafford, Manchester (Lancashire)
Northern Superchargers based at Headingley, Leeds (Yorkshire & Durham)
Trent Rockets based at Trent Bridge, Nottingham (Nottinghamshire, Derbyshire & Leicestershire)
Western Fire based at Sophia Gardens, Cardiff (Glamorgan, Gloucestershire & Somerset)
London Spirit based at Lord’s, London (MCC, Middlesex, Essex & Northants)
Oval Invincibles based at The Oval, London (Surrey & Kent)
Southern Brave based at Ageas Bowl, Southampton (Hampshire & Sussex)

These teams will be formed by combining existing cricketing counties, which has caused a stir with fans who are reluctant to pair with their rivals.

When is The Hundred?

The comeptition will run for a six-week period between 17 July to 16 August 2020.

Teams will play each other once, apart from their paired ‘rivals’, whom they’ll play twice.

The top three finishers will compete in a Finals Day, with the #1 ranked side automatically progressing to the final.

Who will Ben Stokes, Jofra Archer and Steve Smith play for?

Similarly to cricket tournaments such as the Indian Premier League, the men’s teams will pick players in a two-stage, draft-style system.

The first round of the draft is on 3 October, where teams can pick up to three players for their squad.

Teams have the option of choosing at least one England Test match player and get the first choice on their ‘local heroes’ – players who play in their catchment area. For exmaple, Southern Brave will get first refusal on Sussex paceman Jofra Archer.

Ben Stokes (getty)

With Ben Stokes hailing from Durham, Northern Superchargers will have first refusal on the England hero. (Getty)

The main draft will take place on 20 October, where teams can fill the remaining spots in their 15-man squad.

Players available include West Indies hero Chris Gayle, England’s ODI World Cup winning captain Eoin Morgan, and Australia’s Ashes saviour Steve Smith.

There are seven salary bands, with up to two players allowed to be picked at each of the following: £125,000, £100,000, £75,000, £60,000, £50,000, £40,000 and £30,000. Captains will also receive a bonus of £10,000.

However, if players set their salary band too high they may not be picked and risk missing out on The Hundred all together.

But not all is lost, after the main draft, each team can have a final wildcard pick, which will be chosen during the 2020 installment of the T20 Blast, with this player receiving a £30,000 contract.

How many overs is 100 balls?

Overs (as we know them) have been scrapped!

The 100 balls can be bowled in blocks of 5 or 10. Therefore bowlers will have the choice of switching midway through a spell.

Captains must be careful with this tactic as bowlers can only bowl 20 balls.

Are there any other changes?

Yes. One major change is the fielding side have the option to use a 150-second tactical timeout. Will teams use this to ramp up the pressure at the death, or midway through as a rest from the breakneck pace?

In trial games, matches tended to take just over an hour, so the quick pace will certainly make for an exhilarating spectacle.

Where can I watch The Hundred?

For the first time in 15 years, cricket will be available on terrestrial TV. The BBC will be covering 10 live men’s and 8 live women’s matches from The Hundred, including both finals.

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