The latest plans for the ECB’s new 100-ball competition, due to be introduced in 2020, could involve 20 five-ball overs, instead of the traditional six, to be bowled in blocks of ten deliveries from each end.
The reports of a rejigged format come after the ECB were forced to ditch their original notion of 18 six-ball overs and a single ten-delivery final over following strong opposition from the Professional Cricketers Association.
Instead, the fielding captain could now be given the option to retain a given bowler for ten deliveries in a row if they are performing well.
The proposals are being fine-tuned by an ECB steering group, chaired by Clare Connor, with the reduction in end-changes allowing the game to be further sped up – a significant factor in the original framing of the competition, with ECB research suggesting that new audiences are put off by the length of time that matches take to be completed.
Under these revised regulations, all matches can be expected to fit comfortably into a two-and-a-half hour window from 6.30pm to 9pm.
The notion of bowling consecutive overs from the same end, while radical, is not unheard of in English cricket, with many parks leagues in England and Wales adopting such a policy to hasten the progress of evening matches.
According to the Evening Standard, trial matches for the new competition are expected to take place in September, with Trent Bridge earmarked for the men’s teams and Loughborough for the women. Nottinghamshire have no home fixtures scheduled between September 14-23.
To help lay the groundwork from a playing perspective, the ECB have hired Trent Woodhill, the general manager of Royal Challengers Bangalore and Melbourne Stars, as a consultant on a one-month contract.
Renowned as an innovative thinker, Woodhill has previously worked as a batting coach with Pakistan and was John Wright’s assistant with New Zealand between 2010 and 2012. His varied career also includes stints as an analyst at Surrey and working in junior cricket in New South Wales, and his input will be sought on the operational elements of franchise cricket.
Woodhill met with England Lions players at New Road on Wednesday, and is expected to speak to county directors of cricket over the next few weeks.