ECB chief executive Harrison – The Hundred is not a threat to county cricket
The ECB’s new city-based tournament has received plenty of criticism.
ECB chief executive Tom Harrison insists that The Hundred will help protect other formats of the game.
The new 100-ball competition will begin next summer and has been thrust into the limelight after the player’s draft took place at the weekend.
Amid all the razzmatazz and publicity, there is still opposition to the tournament.
#StopThe100 was trending on Twitter while the draft was taking place, while several people were asked to remove ‘Oppose the 100’ t-shirts during the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee evidence session where Harrison, ECB chairman Colin Graves and managing director of women’s cricket Clare Connor were appearing.
The Hundred and the effect on the game dominated a large part of the session and Harrison was firm in his defence of it.
“The Hundred is all about growing the game of cricket in this country and protecting the things we value the most,” he said.
“The 100 is a really good way of protecting everything that we are serious about.
“It’s about protecting Test match cricket, it’s about protecting four-day Championship cricket, it’s about getting kids playing more cricket at school.
“This is engaging at a different level with a completely new community in this country and that is something we should embrace and celebrate.
“It is not a threat to the county game. It is a much greater threat to rest on our laurels and say everything is rosy in our garden and things will be fine if we keep ticking along as we are.”
The Cricket World Cup this summer was highly successful, where a huge number of spectators bought tickets for the first time.
Harrison insists that the Hundred will try and replicate the atmosphere of the World Cup and thus appeal to those fans.
He added: “The Hundred is an attempt to replicate that and bring it back to our country every year without taking anything away from our precious county environment, to ensure we grow the game of cricket in this country. That is our job.
“We have seen throughout the Cricket World Cup grounds across the country packed to the rafters, 40 per cent of whom were first-time buyers to cricket in this country.
“The vibrancy, the colours, the noise and energy is something that will live with all of us.”
Harrison was grilled by MP Jo Stevens on the competition’s budget, a question that Harrison was keen to swerve.
After several attempts by Stevens to get an exact figure out of Harrison, the chief executive would not budge from his view that “the budget is in line with the game’s expectations”.