The Hundred – so named for each innings only being 100 balls – is English cricket’s new domestic short-format competition. The aim of the tournament is to introduce new fans to cricket in order to grow the sport.
With this objective in mind, the ECB has consulted a number of marketing agencies and tested suggestions via focus groups to make the sport more accessible.
Some propositions reportedly considered include changing ‘wickets’ to ‘outs’ as well as making terminology more gender neutral. Hence batsmen will become batters and the fielding position ‘third man’ may also be renamed.
Research has reportedly shown that cricket’s complicated terminology is one of the biggest barriers for potential new supporters. Using the baseball term ‘outs’ is felt to be more easily understandable.
Scrapping the term ‘wickets’ would completely change the way in which scoring is described. Instead of saying a team is ’83 runs for the loss of three wickets after 47 balls’, commentators would describe a team as having ’83 runs from 47 balls for three outs’. The scorecard for The Hundred will also need to be updated as the traditional six-ball over is done away with.
The change of ends will now come after 10 balls but bowlers will be able to bowl either 10 or five balls consecutively. A countdown showing the remaining balls left in the innings has also been mooted.
The new proposals are likely to upset many cricket traditionalists but have nevertheless been extensively focus-group tested and met with positive responses.
The ECB and broadcasters are being urged to be brave and implement them.