Plans to change cricketing terms such as ‘wickets’ into ‘outs’ make The Hundred look gimmicky, warned ex-England captain Michael Vaughan.
The Hundred is a new competition starting this summer, where each side have 100 deliveries and is designed to be accessible, appealing to those who might not already be fans.
The glitzy tournament will feature some of the best players from around the world playing in eight regional franchise sides dotted in major cities around the country, such as Birmingham Phoenix and London Spirit.
The Hundred is a new 100-ball franchise cricket tournament set to begin on July 21
Michael Vaughan believes the ECB need to be careful not to alienate existing fans
WHAT IS ‘THE HUNDRED’?
Dreamt up as a way of taking cricket to a new generation of fans, The Hundred has already irked traditionalists because each team only bowls 100 deliveries – as opposed to 120 in a T20 game
The counties are being replaced by eight regional franchises: Birmingham Phoenix, London Spirit, Oval Invincibles, Manchester Originals Northern Superchargers, Trent Rockets, Southern Brave and Welsh Fire.
The tournament was due to launch last summer but was delayed because of Covid-19.
But many cricket fans have been upset by the desire to pander to new audiences by changing long-held cricketing terminology for more ‘Americanised’ words.
Vaughan believes the ECB need to remember that the cricket is what will make the maiden event a success.
He wrote in the Telegraph: ‘I like change in cricket but saying ‘outs’ instead of wickets makes The Hundred look even more gimmicky than it already is.
‘I can understand batsmen changing to batters in this era but I don’t really get wickets to outs. That just looks like change for change’s sake.
‘My only worry is, what next? Will cow corner be banned so as not to upset vegans?
‘Cow Corner’ is part of the field deep on the batsman’s leg side and is thought to be after an area on the ground at Dulwich College where cows would often graze.
Commentators often refer to the area when a batsman has attempted a slog or big shot towards the area.
Despite the potential changes, Vaughan thinks The Hundred is will shorten the game and can provide a product to rival the Indian Premier League.
‘Cricket has to be careful not to alienate them (existing fans) too much by changing too many things for the sake of it and risk it becoming a laughing stock because I think inadvertently they have stumbled across the right tournament,’ he added.
Traditionalists have been annoyed at The Hundred for ditching the counties and creating glossy new teams and the latest proposals to change terminology is another affront to those fans.
The Hundred has already scrapped traditional six-ball overs and instead there will be 10 balls from an end, delivered by one or two bowlers, before a switch to the other end and a clock counting down from a hundred balls.
Commentators will be encouraged to use the new terminology which will include the gender-neutral term batters.
The fielding position of third man is also under threat.
The format will include England stars including Eoin Morgan (centre) and Jason Roy (right)
It remains to be seen whether commentators will be instructed by broadcasters to use the new terminology recommended by consultants.
But it will be fascinating to see how the competition is received and whether the new format can break fresh ground and grow the game.
The Hundred begins on July 21 and the eight competing teams will play over a 38-day period, ending in early September.