The England & Wales Cricket Board (ECB) is on the verge of postponing the inaugural edition of their ambitious project The-Hundred due to the coronavirus pandemic. The franchise-driven 100-ball tournament was set to take place this year but is now under a huge doubt as the pandemic has taken a huge toll on sports across the globe.
All the international and major domestic events are already cancelled as cricket boards around the world have joined the fight against the pandemic. Earlier this month, the ECB recalled the England team from Sri Lanka where they were set to play a two-match Test series.
According to the Times of India, a decision on The Hundred is waiting to be taken anytime soon and formal announcements can be expected between now and the next few weeks. The Hundred is ECB’s dream project, one that was first unveiled in April 2018, playing conditions confirmed in February 2019 and the player draft taking place the same October.
“The ECB heads had internally discussed postponing The Hundred by a month very recently, in the wake of the COVID-19 outbreak. At that time, it seemed like a realistic approach. What seems more realistic right now is posting The Hundred to 2021. The current situation leaves ECB with no better choice,” sources told the news outlet.
The condition due to the pandemic is very alarming in the UK. The English Premier League is already suspended while the Wimbledon is also looking set to suffer the same fate. In such a scenario, it is very tough to assume that The Hundred would take place as scheduled.
“Ideally, the postponement of the 2020 Olympics should’ve held the ECB in good stead. But that is not the case anymore. Travel bans are likely to stay in place for all of the English summer. A thorough postponement is the only choice,” said sources.
Ticket sales for The Hundred were set to commence in the first week of April and have now been indefinitely delayed.
Sanjay Patel, managing director, The Hundred, commented: “In the midst of an epidemic which is affecting the nation in unprecedented ways, it would be wholly inappropriate for us to promote and sell tickets to The Hundred. We appreciate this may cause some disappointment to fans that were keen to purchase tickets in the April sales window, accessing early bird prices and securing tickets to the most in-demand games.”
Meanwhile, the IPL is also looking set to be cancelled this year. The thirteenth edition of the tournament was scheduled to start on March 29 but the BCCI had suspended it till April 15. But as things stand, it looks very unlikely that the tournament would take place this year.