'˜The Hundred' - Questions remain but Yorkshire chief Martyn Moxon backs controversial concept

YORKSHIRE chief Martyn Moxon has given a cautious welcome to the new 100-ball competition.

Will they play?: England's Jonny Bairstow and Joe Root.

The county’s director of cricket believes that it is a good idea, provided that it does what it says on the tin.

‘The Hundred’ is the controversial brainchild of the England and Wales Cricket Board, who are in the process of finalising the tournament’s framework.

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The concept has attracted widespread ridicule, but Moxon believes that it has the potential to lift the sport’s profile.

“If it brings in what they say it will, it’s got to be of value to the game,” he said.

“There’s a lot of detail still to be decided, so it’s hard to make any comment until you know exactly what the format’s going to be; there’s the question of when the drafts are going to take place, when the coaches are going to be appointed, and the effect that that will have on counties, and so on. These are all things that are still up in the air.

“Clearly, the background to it is that when research has been done, in schools and around the country, how little cricket and cricketers are recognised as opposed to other sports and pastimes is quite striking really.

“That’s the background to why the ECB have thought we need to do something to get the game more widely acknowledged and to get a new audience; otherwise, we are potentially going to get left behind.”

Yorkshire's Martyn Moxon.

Moxon, who saw little bits of the 100-ball pilot games at Trent Bridge last month, admits that the financial implications are particularly significant.

Yorkshire and their county brethren are set to receive £1.3m a year as a result of the five-week tournament, set to start in 2020 and featuring eight newly-created teams, with Emerald Headingley one of the hosting venues.

“From a Yorkshire CCC perspective, hosting the competition is very valuable to us, and a lot of our financial projections are based on the new money and hosting the new tournament,” added Moxon.

The director of cricket also hopes that those people drawn in by the new competition will, in turn, watch other forms of cricket, thus boosting popularity across the board.

“Clearly, the money that’s coming into the game as a result of this is very valuable and is welcomed, and if it allows us to do good things with the extra money, and it does bring a greater audience into cricket and greater participation in cricket, then it’s got to be worthwhile.

“The game needs a higher profile within the country.

“Given the stats, it’s scary really how few people know who the top England cricketers are, particularly young people. Anything that raises the sport’s profile can only be beneficial.”

Although counties would gain financially, the costs of the competition have spiralled dramatically.

The initial projection of £13m has risen to circa £40m, with some counties understood to be at loggerheads with the ECB.

Despite his broad support for the idea in principle, Moxon still has concerns about how it will work in terms of fine detail.

He hopes that these will shortly be addressed to provide greater clarity for everyone concerned.

“My concerns are, will we get the high-profile overseas players that they’re talking about?” he said.

“Will we get three per team? That’s 24 overseas players. How much will the Test players be able to play in it, Joe Root, Jonny Bairstow, Ben Stokes?

“Will it attract the new audience that we’re hoping it will? Only time will tell.

“What we don’t want is for it to turn off the current supporters or for it to be overkill.

“Plus, how will it affect the Blast? Will people stop coming to the Blast? The Hundred will be played pretty much straight after the Blast (T20) finishes. Will that be a good thing or a negative thing? I don’t know. Only time will tell. There’s lots of questions that still need to be answered.”

Yorkshire take on Lahore Qalandars today in their opening match in the inaugural Abu Dhabi T20 Trophy.

The game at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium starts at 5pm UK time and is preceded by the opening fixture between Auckland Aces and Boost Defenders.

Tomorrow, Hobart Hurricanes meet Lahore Qalandars and Multiply Titans face Boost Defenders.

The competition concludes on Saturday when Yorkshire face Hobart Hurricanes (8am) and Multiply Titans take on Auckland Aces ahead of the final (5pm).

Former Yorkshire coach Jason Gillespie has signed a two-year contract extension with Big Bash League franchise Adelaide Strikers.

Former New South Wales batsman Kevin Roberts has been appointed the new chief executive of Cricket Australia (CA).