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ECB proposals “another addition to an already packed marketplace”

The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) forwarded proposals for a new 100-ball cricket format last week, which it is fair to say had received very mixed reactions worldwide.

Encapsulating fifteen traditional six-ball overs and a final ten-ball over, meaning it will be twenty deliveries shorter than the ever growing Twenty20 (T20) format, plans would see an eight team city based tournament.

England director of cricket Andrew Strauss has suggested a very distinct audience during the summer holidays is the target, but conversely could this be key in attracting bettors, with it believed the shorter formats of cricket are key in making the market become more mainstream.

Could a new audience be attracted as a result of this? And in turn bring a new wave of fresh punters? Paul Lowery, head of sports trading at Sky Betting and Gaming, doesn’t believe that is the case, unless it is branded it a new way: “I don’t see a huge difference to the T20 game to be honest unless the way the game is branded and presented is completely different.

“I appreciate that the countdown element adds to the drama of the game and its less time to wait between overs but ultimately any change in audience relies more on promotion in my opinion.”

It has been claimed that amongst the venues for the new competition are Southampton, Birmingham, Leeds, London, Manchester, Cardiff and Nottingham, which would last five-weeks and begin in 2020.

Could this introduction, which in some ways is aiming to piggyback off the success of T20, be a step too far though: “I think it’s another addition to an already packed marketplace. T20 isn’t really broken and in my opinion the ECB would be better advised looking to replicate the razzmatazz of the BBL or IPL with our current domestic summer competition.”

Aiming to take place alongside the T20 Blast, some quarters have been quick to suggest it is the longer formats of the game that need spicing up, not the already successful short versions.

Could this be a reaction to England being a little slow to full adapt to the T20 craze though, Lowery concluded: “I’ve probably given away my answer to this question in my answer to the previous one; in my opinion it’s exactly this.

“I’ve seen a few negative comments from players and fans alike already and the powers that be would be well advised not to mess around too much with the format of an already enjoyable quick hitting proposition.”

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