A new city-based tournament setup by the England and Wales Cricket board (ECB) was due to commence for the first time this summer.
The Hundred was supposed to begin on 17 July and run until 15 August but has now had to be postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The 100-ball cricket competition was created to expand cricket audiences further to young people and diverse communities as well as being a new source of much needed income for the sport.
A meeting was held on Wednesday by the England and Cricket Board (ECB) who came to the conclusion that it would not be possible for the tournament to go ahead this year.
‘’The situation we find ourselves in as a country means that delivery of The Hundred will not be possible this summer. Said ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison.
The ECB stated that the intention now is for the tournament to run next year as it would have this year. However, difficulties may arise when overseas players who were available to participate in the tournament this year, are not available in 2021.
Harrison added “Whilst we are naturally disappointed that we won’t get to realise our ambitions this year, The Hundred will go ahead in 2021 when we are safely able to deliver everything we intended to help grow the game.”
ECB have stated that they have already begun to pay the 18 first class counties the £1.3m each they were due to receive for The Hundred.
Costs are already mounting for ECB having to refund over 180,000 tickets sold for the event
but ECB Chief Executive Tom Harrison remains confident the new tournament will increase revenue for the sport.
“The Hundred will create millions in revenues for the game, through hosting fees, hospitality and ticket sales, as well as delivering £25m in annual financial distributions to all First Class Counties and MCC. Its role in driving participation alongside supporting the development of the women’s game will be material in generating take-up of our game across country-wide communities.’’
The national governing body has already said that if and when this season of cricket begins, the focus will be on delivering men’s and women’s internationals with the addition of domestic first-class and limited-overs competitions.
The ECB are working on ways in which Cricket can be played behind closed doors. Their plans are to develop “bio-secure” conditions and are looking at Hampshire’s Ageas Bowl as a possibility due to its on-site hotel.
Cricketer Moeen Ali recalls his experience of playing without an audience, “We played in the PSL the last two games with no one in the ground and it was so bad. There were such big crowds before that, so you went from one extreme to the other. It was very difficult to get yourself up for the game. No one wants to play in an empty stadium. But it will probably have to be the case for a while.”