The planned ‘hundred-ball’ tournament has nothing to do with attracting young people: it’s all about TV scheduling, says former England spinner Graeme Swann.
‘There’s the thing that Colin Graves [chairman of the England and Wales Cricket Board] is barking on about: “It’s because kids don’t like cricket.” They do, Colin. Turn up at my cricket club where I take my son on a Friday night – there’s 150 kids every week,’ said Swann.
‘Hundred-ball cricket is being done very blatantly to fit the TV schedules, since there is only a small window to get the game on, so they’ve tried to squeeze it in.’
Although the reduction from T20’s 20 overs (or 120 balls) per innings is minimal, it is thought the change will help to ensure games fit comfortably into a three-hour window, with all matches expected to finish by 9pm.
‘It’s because of the TV rights,’ Swann said. ‘We need to get participation and need to get it on TV, so they are ready to give them small time slots, like they do for football games. So they want to squeeze it into 100 balls. But then to insult people’s intelligence by claiming that it’s something else? That’s why there’s uproar at the moment.’
Graves has said that the new city-based format was ‘ready to launch’, but not all counties and players are happy with the concept. Games would consist of 15 standard overs, and a final 10-ball over. Graves has claimed that ‘a new, exciting format’ was needed to attract young people to cricket matches; a claim that was made when T20 was launched.
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