‘The Hundred’ under fire from Yorkshire pace star Jack Brooks

Yorkshire's Jack Brooks: Against new format.
Yorkshire's Jack Brooks: Against new format.
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JACK BROOKS has described the new 100-ball cricket concept as “ridiculous” and says that is the general feeling of his Yorkshire team-mates.

The pace bowler has hit out at the plans for the new city-based franchise competition starting in England in 2020.

The England and Wales Cricket Board said that they received “unanimous support” from county chairmen and chief executives, plus MCC, when announcing the plans last week, which are designed to appeal to families and a younger audience.

But Brooks has added his voice to the growing army of players and spectators who hold reservations about the controversial scheme, which will see the anticipated Twenty20 format scrapped in favour of 15 six-ball overs followed by a final over of 10 deliveries.

“It’s just ridiculous, really,” said Brooks, who wants the sport to move forward in a sensible way.

“I think the vast majority of the current players aren’t really interested, to be honest.

My immediate reaction was, ‘why effectively invent another sport almost, another version of cricket?’

Jack Brooks

“If they want to make this franchise thing, then just stick with Twenty20 and give it a go and see what happens with that.

“You don’t suddenly have to change the rules of cricket to make it more complicated for new people.”

Just three current players were said to have been aware of plans for The Hundred, the working title of the new concept.

Eoin Morgan and Heather Knight, England’s white-ball captains, were consulted along with Daryl Mitchell, chair of the Professional Cricketers’ Association.

Asked if his views were shared among the Yorkshire squad, Brooks said: “Yes, pretty much.

“It’s just ridiculous. A 10-ball over?”

He continued: “When Twenty20 came about, it didn’t really change the rules of cricket or anything, it was just a condensed format.

“Club cricket had already been played in Twenty20 for years. This new format has just come out of the blue.

“They think that it’s going to attract a new audience, but it’s more to do with the fact that they want it on free-to-air TV and it’s a shortened format. It’s going to save a bit of time.

“If it takes off and it eventually gets some wheels, it will take a few years to get going.

“For me, as someone who’s been around a while, I don’t see the point in it really.

“My immediate reaction was, ‘why effectively invent another sport almost, another version of cricket?’”

Brooks’s reservations come after one England player reportedly described the mood in his own county dressing room as one of “uproar”.

Other internationals are said to have wanted to speak out but feared censure if they did so.

County cricketers, however, have been commendably candid in their opinions.

On Twitter, Sussex batsman Luke Wells wrote: “Honestly can’t believe this 100-ball game idea has actually gained any ground. Why try and fix a format that’s not broken?

“T20 works and is a massively popular product which is growing worldwide! Trying to reinvent the wheel just doesn’t make sense.”

Chris Rushworth, the Durham pace bowler, tweeted: “On this new format, what a load of b******. Can’t see many bowlers lining up to bowl a 10-ball over!

“Just machine getting hit for 4/5 sixes in an over, then still having 5/6 balls to go. Hard enough as it is. Any danger of giving something to the bowlers??? #stickwith20.”

However, the ECB claim that the competition, which will be played during a five-week window and see Emerald Headingley as one of the eight host venues, will help raise money to protect county cricket in general and add “a fresh tactical dimension” with the 10-ball over.

There are suggestions that up to three bowlers could be used to share the 10-ball over, prompting further incredulity around the shires.

However, Sanjay Patel, the ECB’s chief commercial officer and managing director for the new competition, maintained: “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 2020-2024 are vital to the success of this competition and they will see the energy, excitement and simplicity of this approach.”

Yorkshire’s hierarchy have already given their approval to the scheme.

All counties are set to receive £1.3m per year for supporting the plan, which some fear might even kill the Championship.

Also writing on Twitter, Steve Denison, the Yorkshire chairman, urged: “Badgers suspend your skepticism, this is going to be awesome at broadening the appeal of cricket #TheHundred.”

Denison said that the concept was “designed to strengthen the game by attracting and retaining new fans” and enthused: “Imagine being 6 or 7 (year-olds) and the excitement of counting down from a hundred with a mega over at the end. Cricket has always innovated and evolved.”

He added that it tied in perfectly with family schedules – “done and dusted inside 3 hours”.

No doubt, the debate will rumble on.