The England and Wales Cricket Board on Thursday (April 19) unveiled plans for the eight-team domestic competition to use an innovative format of 100 balls per side, rather than 20 overs.
The ECB presented their proposed approach of Cricket Unleashed, which was unanimously supported by the new competition’s board, to the Chairmen and Chief Executives of the First-Class Counties and MCC. If approved, the domestic competition will start in 2020.
The proposed format would see each team face 15 six-ball overs followed by an additional 10 deliveries. It will be 20 balls shorter than traditional Twenty20 cricket.
“This is a fresh and exciting idea which will appeal to a younger audience and attract new fans to the game,” said Tom Harrison, the ECB’s chief executive. “Our game has a history of innovation and we have a duty to look for future growth for the health and sustainability of the whole game.”
The new competition will take place alongside the existing T20 Blast which is expected to be unaffected by the proposed format changes. Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham have been selected as venues for the five-week competition, with Lord’s and The Oval each playing host to a London-based team.
The ECB believe the concept will help to appeal to families and a more diverse and younger audience. It will feature aligned competitions for both men’s and women’s teams, with the same format and team identities, as the ECB seek to capitalise on the growing interest in women’s cricket since the World Cup win in 2017.
“Our World Cup win at Lord’s last July showed what’s possible in terms of our sport reaching a new, younger and more diverse audience,” said Clare Connor, the ECB’s Director of Women’s Cricket.
“Kia Super League has had a huge impact on participation, player development and the profile of our game. It was a big investment and a bold decision by the Board and paved the way for this next stage of growth.
“To build the women’s and men’s competitions and identities together, side by side, is a prospect that few sports ever have and will give us greater reach, scale and prominence. It will attract more women and girls to the game, ensure that cricket reaches and entertains more families and give our players an exciting stage upon which to display their talent.”