‘The Hundred’ on anvil: How cricket has changed over the years
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‘The Hundred’ on anvil: How cricket has changed over the years

It is a 100-ball competition to be played during the summer holidays in England

‘The Hundred’ on anvil: How cricket has changed over the years

The devastating second wave of coronavirus has brought everything to standstill in India. If affected Indian Premier League (IPL) as well. The BCCI has suspended the event indefinitely as players contracted the virus. Amid all this, the sports fans, who are all stuck at their homes due to the lockdown, have felt a void as there is nothing to watch as such on the television. However, they can look forward to one competition – The Hundred – in the days to come. The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has confirmed that the lauch of “The Hundred” will take place on July 21, 2021.

Ever since the concept of the competition came forward, there has been excitement among people about the new format. It also marks a new beginning in the world of cricket. Let us see how cricket evolved over the years and the details of The Hundred. In the very beginning, there was only one format of the game and it used to be Test matches played normally over the span of six days with a rest day in between. However, there has also been a time when there used to be unlimited time for a Test match. It used to happen before World War II.

There was also a Test match played between India and Pakistan in Dacca in 1955 which spanned over only four days. So, there used to be no certainly over the span of the game earlier. In 70s, India had witnessed two Test matches which were played over six days. But, as time progressed, clarity over the span of matches came. By the 1970s, a play duration of 5 days in a Test match became norm. But, they had a rest day in between after the second or third day. The concept of rest day continued till early 90s. It was then discontinued and now we don't see a rest day in Test matches.

Probably, the fast-paced world had no time or patience to wait for a day. Things changed drastically ever since. While there has been debates over preserving the longest format of the game, shorter version of the games have become an instant hit. There has been amazing following of shorter version of the games.

If we look back into the history of limited overs cricket, the first instance of an international limited overs game was seen in 1971 which was played between Australia and England at Melbourne. Later, it became normal cricket with the start of 1975 world cup. The matches used to be 60 overs a side. There used to be also 55 overs, 50 overs, and 40 overs matches till 1996. It was only after 1996 that the 50 overs a side matches became a globally accepted format. And, now one-day internationals are played as 50 overs a side game.

Cricket has further evolved with T20 cricket which offers 20 overs a side games. The first T20 international game was played between Australia and New Zealand in 2005. Ever since, it has become an instant hit among the masses.

It also became gateway to the franchise cricket. Now, franchise cricket of shortest version of the game are played all across the globe. And, cricket has certainly changed. Cricket has also been transformed with the time. It has become very fast paced. People have no time these days for long forms of the games.

Now, as it seems, time has come for a more shortened version of the game and there is already a great buzz among people. The ECB has introduced the concept of The Hundred games to the world. It is a 100-ball competition to be played during the summer holidays in England. As the buzz says, it has the potential to be as successful as the Indian Premier League (IPL). The difference is that it will be more shortened game played 100 balls a side. There will be 15 overs of 6 balls and one 10 ball over in the end.

Its new format also offers a change of ends after 10 balls. Each bowler can deliver a maximum of 20 balls per game. The strategic timeout will be of up to two and a half minutes. The powerplay will be of 25-ball at the start of the innings. Only two fielders are allowed outside the initial 30-yard circle during the powerplay. There will be three overseas players playing for each of the sides.

The will be eight teams in the league. They are - Manchester Originals based at Old Trafford, Manchester; Northern Superchargers based at Headingley; Leeds Birmingham Phoenix based at Edgbaston; Birmingham Trent Rockets based at Trent Bridge; Nottingham Welsh Fire based at Sophia Gardens Cardiff; London Spirit based at Lord's; London Oval Invincibles based at The Oval, London and Southern Brave based at Ageas Bowl, Southampton.

Legendary players like Shane Warne and AB de Villiers have spoken very positively about the tournament. Warne said that "The Hundred" will be as successful as the IPL. Only the time will tell how it gets accepted by the masses. However, seeing the people's inclination towards the shorter version of the games of late, it can be said that this league is also having great potential to succeed. The success of latest format of the game will provide scope for its adaptation in the international arena. So, let us wait for it to start. One thing is sure that each of the formats of the game provides the different scope of strategies and play. So, this will be certainly a completely new experience for sure.