So. Farewell then the ‘amazing The Hundred (for now)

In Uncategorized on August 21, 2021 by kmflett

So. Farewell then the ‘amazing’ The Hundred (for now)

Saturday at Lords see the finals of the womens and mens Hundred (weather permitting).

It will of course be ‘amazing’ (checks notes-that’s what it says here anyway)

I know many long standing cricket followers have avoided it. However, perhaps unfortunately, after spending several centuries as a union officer I have the habit of engaging with ‘the enemy’ the better to find out what they are up to.

I have watched quite a few Hundred games on BBC and Sky and listened to the BBC TMS commentary (when I could stand it-more below on that).

There have been some outstanding individual performances and a few close finishes. I cant say that I have bothered much about the made-up teams. Being based partly in Cardiff I know that Welsh Fire are nothing to do with Wales beyond playing at Sophia Gardens and I identify with the London Spirit as much as I do with my actual ‘county’ side Middlesex (not much).

Aside from banning Sweet Caroline (unsuccessfully) and complaining about crowds drinking The Hundred has essentially been a 16.6% shorter T20. The original plan was to develop the T20. It should have been stuck to.

The ECB has commercial reasons for promoting The Hundred and it has done so, as a product. The TV coverage has been OK on both (not much watched) Sky Pay TV and on the (much better watched free to air BBC). I exclude KP from this (muted). The core BBC TV commentary team of Phil Tufnell, Michael Vaughan and Isa Guha has been decent. The BBC does however have a tendency to regularly mention how ‘amazing’ The Hundred is.

The BBC TMS commentary has on occasion suggested room for improvement, though far from universally so. A lot was good. However its sometimes crossed the line between commentating on The Hundred and promoting it (the ECB has a PR budget for that) with a bit too much shouting about nothing much. TMS of course deserves big credit for also covering the 50 over game, the County game and Tests (Sky bother very little with the first two though they have the TV rights). One understood however what a commentator on a 50 over game, focused just on noting what was happening, meant when he remarked that this was now the real TMS. Let’s hope the TMS’s Hundred coverage has engaged new (& indeed younger) listeners who will listen across the TMS formats in future

The downsides to all this should be obvious. Both the County game and the Red ball game are at risk of being undermined and they are the basis of Test sides. The Hundred, only played here is the basis of nothing cricket wise.

Its true that the Hundred has promoted the women’s game which has been a huge plus (don’t mention that women players are not paid equally with the men, the broadcast media certainly has not in the main, although TMS has focused on it on several occasions, to its credit). However it could easily have been included within the existing T20 format and had the consultants not arrived at the ECB probably would have been.

Have we seen the last of the ‘amazing’ Hundred? Of course not. There are commercial contracts and commitments out there. It will continue which is more than may be said for some other forms of the game by the look of it.

In the meantime I’ve enjoyed watching at least some of The Hundred (like T20 games are often one sided non contests).The above comments are about cricket politics. There is space (if I have time) for comment on the specifics of the cricket played which is of some interest in itself

Some other views:

Matthew Henry BBC Sport

Toby Wood, well known Peterborough beard wearer

Emma John The Guardian

One Response to “So. Farewell then the ‘amazing The Hundred (for now)”

  1. […] started off with a bit of a rant about The Hundred. Keith Flett sums up the issues succinctly in this […]

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