The over as cricket fans know it will be completely re-imagined, or destroyed as those of a traditional bent might say, when an eight-team league called 'The Hundred' starts business in England next summer.
The BBC reported yesterday that the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) has won the votes of 17 of the 18 first-class counties -- Surrey being the exception -- for The Hundred, a format where teams play 100 balls each. The ECB has also finalised the rules of play and the format -- completely different from any played at a professional level.
"The Hundred will help cricket to reach more people," ECB chief executive Tom Harrison was quoted as saying by the BBC.
"This new competition will help us to meet the ambitions of our game-wide strategy for 2020-24," Harrison said, while assuring that the ECB remains "totally committed to the existing, popular forms of cricket".
The concept elicited mixed reactions when it was originally mooted, perhaps because cricket already has a format where teams play 120 balls, or 20 overs, each called T20 cricket. It is the most popular and most lucrative format, with cash-rich franchise-based leagues mushrooming virtually everywhere in the cricketing world and beyond. Cricketing stars including India skipper Virat Kohli, former Indian captain Sourav Ganguly, former South African skipper AB de Villiers and Jamaican six-machine Chris Gayle have expressed opinions on the format -- some thinking it an unnecessary addition while others viewed it as an interesting innovation.
There is also a T10 League played in the United Arab Emirates, but it is yet to be taken seriously by the International Cricket Council.
What they said
“Obviously for the people involved in the whole process and the set-up it will be really exciting but I cannot think of one more format, to be honest."
"You got to be very careful that it should not be such that before a spectator comes and blinks, the thing (match) is over. The shorter the format gets, the difference between the very good and the ordinary becomes much lesser.”
"I can't see anything wrong with trying something different,"
-AB de Villiers
“Well, if I don't start it (the Hundred), it won't be a tournament.”