The England and Wales Cricket Board has decided to postpone the launch of The Hundred until 2021.
The 100-ball tournament was designed by the ECB to help build the game on the back of England’s World Cup win on home soil last summer. Teams featuring a mix of domestic and overseas stars were due to feature for The London Spirit, Birmingham Phoenix, Manchester Originals, Oval Invincibles, Welsh Fire, Northern Spirit, Southern Brave and Trent Rockets. However, the new-look contest has been put back a year amid the on-going COVID-19 outbreak.
The decision was made at a board meeting and comes a week after the ECB had also decided to extend the postponement of all cricket in the country until at least July 1. It means the T20 Blast and international fixtures are the main priority this year.
ECB chief executive officer Tom Harrison said: “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won't get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to grow the game.
The Hundred more important than ever
Despite the forced postponement, officials have underlined their commitment to The Hundred and the role it can play in helping grow the game.
Harrison added: “As we emerge from the fallout of COVID-19, there will be an even greater need for The Hundred.
“Our survival as a game, long term, will be dependent on our ability to recover financially and continue our ambition to build on cricket's growing fan base. That need has not gone away and, if anything, it is now more critical.”
“The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and the MCC.
“Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women's game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.
“While financially, our plans may be impacted, our ambition ‘to inspire a generation' should in no way be diluted.”