Leading England players look likely to be available to play in some games in English domestic cricket’s new tournament The 100.
There had been fears that England’s best-known players – the likes of Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler and Joe Root – would be unavailable for the ECB’s flagship new tournament as they were likely to be on duty with the Test team.
But ESPNcricinfo understands that, such is the desire of all involved to find some space in the busy schedule, they are likely to be available for the first couple of games in the tournament’s first year – 2020 – and the final.
That is a significant boost for the ECB. They had previously faced the prospect of either not being able to use the players for marketing purposes or being accused of cynicism if they used them in the knowledge they would not be available. While they have long stated the aim of the competition is to attract a new audience to the sport, the availability of the best – and probably best-known – players can only be an advantage.
Details of plans for The 100 remain unclear. The ECB hopes that a new working party – chaired by Clare Connor, the director of England Women’s cricket, and meeting for the first time in Loughborough next week – will be able to finalise them in the coming weeks. Among the issues to be discussed is how the 100-ball innings can be divided into overs without complication and in a way that is acceptable to players. The possibility of a 10-ball over appears to have diminished following player resistance.
It is understood, however, the group will only consider proposals built on the 100-ball principle. So while the Professional Cricketers’ Association maintain their hope that the new tournament could be played in the T20 format, it seems a majority of the counties and the ECB executive are adamant it should not.