The launch of The Hundred could be put back by a year, according to Durham chief executive Tim Bostock.
The new tournament was set to begin in England and Wales this summer but is now in doubt due to the Coronavirus outbreak sweeping the globe. It means the ECB’s new competition might have to be postponed for 12 months.
The start of the domestic season in England and Wales has already been put back until the end of May. The ECB has already confirmed that International cricket, the T20 Blast and the Hundred will be prioritised over the Country Championship.
However, Bostock has been part of talks between the 18 first-class counties and the ECB about how best to alter the fixture calendar in the wake of the pandemic. He believes that delaying The Hundred is still a real possibility should the forthcoming season be cut to under three months of action.
“The good news is we’re all on the same path in terms of what the priorities are and that includes the ECB as well,” said Bostock when talking to the The Cricket Collective show on talkSPORT 2.
“It’s pretty clear international cricket comes first, then after that it’s the Blast and the Hundred. That’s where the revenue is.
“Protecting the Hundred is important, although in the conversations I’ve had with the ECB, if it ends up being a two-month season, a view will be taken about whether this is really the right time to launch the Hundred.
“Tom Harrison (CEO of the ECB) has been really pragmatic. I certainly get the impression if we get a two-month season the pragmatic view would be what’s the point of launching this competition now? Let’s launch it properly next year. I think we’re all on the same page.”
Fixtures already postponed
The EBC Board have already announced that the county season won’t get underway until at least May 28. It means a seven-week delay is now in place following the COVID-19 pandemic. The ongoing crisis has already seen cricket tournaments and international tours postponed.
At the time of the announcement, Harrison said: “During this period of deep uncertainty it is the ECB’s first priority to protect the wellbeing of everyone within the cricket family, from players, to fans and colleagues across the game.
“The decision to delay the start of the season has been essential, given the circumstances the nation faces. I am reassured by the collaborative effort from across the game that together, we will make the very best of whatever length of season we are able to safely schedule in the coming months.”