May 10, 2021

Joe Root: ECB’s 100-ball tournament plan could boost Test format popularity

England Test captain Joe Root believes controversial plans for a first of its kind 100-ball competition could help bring new audiences to more traditional formats of the game.

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) last week revealed that their new eight-team tournament set to start in 2020 would be played over 100 balls per innings, making it 20 balls shorter than the Twenty20 format.

With 15 regular six-ball overs and one 10-ball over, the ECB believes the format will appeal to children and women.

The ECB consulted mother's website Mumsnet, according to the Times, as director of England cricket Andrew Strauss said the format was aimed at "attracting mums and kids in the school holiday".

Read more:ECB announces plans for 100-balls-per-innings format for new city-based competition

"It's going to appeal to a completely new audience and I think that's great," said Root.

"The more people and kids we can get into sport, the better."

The ECB's proposals have been criticised for adding a competitor format to fix an already popular T20, while the struggling Test game is neglected.

"Not sure what's wrong with T20 and why we're trying to get funky," said former England bowler and City A.M. columnist Chris Tremlett. "The longer form of the game is what needs spicing up, not the shorter form."

Yet Root believes that any competition that can win over new cricket fans will have a knock-on benefit for the Test game.

"We've got to be very careful we don't measure it against the other formats," he said. "It's something to gather a new audience and gain interest, not a threat to other formats.

"As players, working with the ICC, we've got to make sure the other formats don't suffer but it has a place in the game and, hopefully, we'll see that over time.

"There will be people that compare it to Twenty20 and worry it might take away interest from Test cricket, but it's important to remember it will bring new people to the game.

"It might be someone who didn't know much about the game before and then goes on to watch a Test match and gets immersed in that. That's the way I'd like to look at it."




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