ECB's new city-based competition could be set to be a 100-balls-a-side affair, according to a radical proposal released today.
The concept sees two 8 team competitions- for men’s and women’s each- which will have 15 six balls over and a final 10-ball over. The projected approach was presented by the ECB to the chairmen and chief executives of the first-class counties and MCC on Thursday and has been collectively supported by the board of the new competition.
"This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game. Throughout its development, we have shown leadership, provided challenge and followed a process. We will continue to do that as the concept evolves." said Tom Harrison, the ECB's Chief Executive Officer.
The ECB has also confirmed that Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff, and Nottingham will be the host cities for the five-week competition, with Lord's and The Oval each playing host to a London-based team.
"Our game has a history of innovation and we have a duty to look for future growth for the health and sustainability of the whole game. There are 18 First Class Counties, playing red and white ball cricket, at our core and these Counties and competitions will be supported, promoted and benefit from the game's growth," Harrison said.
T20 franchise competitions that have already taken root globally - including the IPL in India, Australia's Big Bash, and the Caribbean Premier League and this is an attempt to differentiate the ECB’s new competition that will be a new feature.
The new format will fit well in the 3-hour window, with loss of 20 balls per innings and are expected to finish by 9 pm.
However, the proposed 10-ball final over may require buy-in from MCC's law-makers, seeing as Law 17.1 currently states: "The ball shall be bowled from each end alternately in overs of 6 balls."
Sanjay Patel, the ECB's chief commercial officer, and MD for the new competition said: "The development team has had strong support and encouragement in its conversations to date and it's time to take the concept wider as we build the detail. This is 100-ball cricket, a simple approach to reach a new generation. Based on 15 traditional six-ball overs, the other ten balls will add a fresh tactical dimension.”
"Crucially, this will also help differentiate this competition from Vitality Blast and other T20 competitions worldwide, maintaining our game's history of successful innovation. The players and our valuable broadcast partners under the new TV partnerships from 2020-24 are vital to the success of this competition and they will see the energy, excitement, and simplicity of this approach," he concluded.
"Our World Cup win at Lord's last July showed what's possible in terms of our sport reaching a new, younger and more diverse audience," said Clare Connor, the ECB's Director of Women's Cricket.
"It will attract more women and girls to the game, ensure that cricket reaches and entertains more families and give our players an exciting stage upon which to display their talent," she said.
The proposals represent the biggest shake-up in English cricket since the launch of the original Twenty20 Cup in 2003.
(With espncricinfo.com inputs)