The ECB Board have confirmed the controversial new hundred ball competition will go ahead from 2020 and also approved proposals for the playing conditions at a meeting on Wednesday, reports ESPN Cricinfo.
The Board ratified the playing conditions proposed by their Cricket Committee which includes a format of 100 balls for each team with bowlers able to bowl five or ten consecutive deliveries. Although the Board are in favour of adopting the new format, it remains uncertain as to whether the proposal could yet change once the first-class counties are consulted in the new year.
An ECB statement read: “The Cricket Committee recommendation for playing conditions in the new competition – agreed by the Board – is for; each innings to be 100 balls, a change of end after every ten balls and an individual bowler able to deliver either 5 or 10 consecutive balls with a maximum of 20 per game.”
The competition is controversial because it will be played by eight city-based teams rather than the traditional 18 first-class counties, a number of whom are understood to have serious reservations. Some, such as former Somerset Chairman Andy Nash, feel the competition could marginalise the non-Test match counties, precipitating a split in the domestic game. The Professional Cricketers’ Association are also pushing for more detail to be confirmed to give certainty to players.
It remains unclear whether the counties, who form part of the ECB’s membership, will be asked to ratify the playing conditions although the ECB confirmed the development of the “New Competition”, as they are calling it, will be presented to the “whole game” in January 2019.
This will be alongside a new strategy 2020-2024, including the County Partnership Agreement and a new structure for the county competitions, also agreed at the Board meeting.
A formal vote to amend the ECB’s Articles of Association was held in early 2017 to allow tournaments to be played without all 18 first-class counties involved, passing by 38 votes to three. This vote paved the way for a new tournament and is the mandate for the new competition on which the ECB is progressing despite no formal, specific vote being held on the creation of a new tournament itself.
The ECB say a new competition will happen but despite the Board endorsing the hundred ball format, there is still the possibility that the playing conditions could be altered after discussion with the 18 first-class counties and other stakeholders. However, given the counties’ strong desire to ensure the new competition is different from the Vitality T20 Blast, which will remain, their acceptance of the playing conditions may well prove to be a formality.
The CPA is the joint agreement between the ECB and the first-class counties governing the relationship between them. For the first time, the Professional Cricketers’ Association have been at the table in order to represent the interests of their members and the agreement, once finalised, will cover things such as the salary cap and an agreed minimum wage.
Although the PCA are generally positive about the negotiations, there are still “significant” areas of challenge and the deal is by no means done yet. Given the new GBP 1.1 billion broadcasting deal, set to come into force in 2020, the players are looking for an increased slice of the pie. It is understood that decisions about raising the salary cap and salary collar are still unresolved with the final number not yet agreed.