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Britain’s Hundred Ball Contest Seen Redefining Cricket, Boosting Diversity

UK’s new cricket competition – The Hundred – kicks off July 21, seeking diversity among its audience. It aims specially at the inclusion of Asian Brits who are not so much into the county game, which is mostly white, in fact 94%. Eight teams based on city lines for tribal loyalties as in the IPL, a draft system and a focus on overseas players as Afghans, Pakistanis, Nepalis and five Indian women cricketers swing into action. England and Wales Cricket Board’s 100-ball competition borrows heavily from IPL thanks to PIO Sanjay Patel who is its MD. English cricket is looking seriously at attracting more South Asians not only as spectators but also players. Take the case of Moeen Ali, who had to move to Worcestershire from Warwickshire to take off on his career. He grew up on tape ball cricket near Edgbaston before becoming a sought after T20 player currently with Chennai Super Kings. The Hundred is hoping to bridge the gap between English cricket and Asian spectators, mostly from the subcontinent. No Indian men are allowed to participate yet by the BCCI but that could change when there is less international cricket during the summer for India. Tactically, it is only a little different from T20 but a bowler can be kept on for ten balls at a time rather than stop with five balls.