It’s no secret that The Hundred has had its detractors from the very start.
There are some rational and some not so rational complaints about the new format, which is, perhaps ironically, set for its inaugural season in 2020.
Those objections have not gone away but the eight franchises have now been released, the coaching staffs have been appointed and the teams have been drafted.
It is by no means perfect but the Hundred is here and it could be hugely beneficial for English cricket–across all formats.
It has already proved that it is going to bring the best players in the world into the domestic game, with the likes of Steve Smith, Rashid Khan, Andre Russell, and Mitchell Starc signed up.
The chance to compete against and play alongside the world’s very best players annually should be huge for the development of English players, particularly those who are up and coming or have not quite broken through yet on the international stage.
Given the quality of the players and the notoriety of the tournament, pressure is going to be high, which should provide our players with excellent experience to call on in big moments for the England side.
It may also help to cement England as the best country to play cricket in the world and therefore attract big players to other domestic competitions.
Playing here has lost its shine a little in recent years, with the glitz, glamour and big-money that the likes of the IPL, Big Bash and other T20 competitions have been able to offer.
Last summer’s World Cup was a phenomenal spectacle, if done right the Hundred can help build upon that and cement England’s position as the best place to play the sport.
Finally and perhaps most importantly, the impact that a tournament like the Hundred could have on inspiring the next generation of English cricketers is huge.
It may alienate some lovers of the game but the Hundred’s modern, quirky format should attract a new wave of young cricket fans–particularly given that it will be broadcast on the BBC.
Sure, there are issues, the Hundred is by no means perfect and it will run into obstacles but it could just be a massive boost for the English game.