Players to provide feedback during ECB's 100-ball trials
The ECB's proposals for their new 100-ball tournament will be assessed by the players over the course of six "pilot days" at Loughborough and Trent Bridge between September 14 and 27.
The concept of "The Hundred" was first unveiled by the ECB in April, as part of the board's plans to engage with a new audience when the sport makes a partial return to free-to-air TV under the terms of the new GBP1.1billion rights deal between 2020 and 2024.
It was greeted with scepticism from the outset, with Daryl Mitchell, the chairman of the PCA, warning that there could be no competition at all unless the players themselves were convinced of its merits.
That opportunity will now be afforded to them, with the ECB seeking feedback on "a number of scenarios and sequences of play". The women players will be given the first outings at Loughborough on 14, 15 and 27 September, with the men playing at Trent Bridge on 16, 17 and 18 September. For the most part, the trials will take place behind closed doors, but a media open day is scheduled for the 17th.
The majority of the 40 players involved in the men's matches will be from Nottinghamshire and Lancashire, as they do not have county fixtures lined up for that week. However, most of the 18 counties are expected to be involved in some capacity.
"Across the six days, a number of scenarios and sequences of play will be explored, focused on the 100-ball format," said the ECB in a press release. "After each day, players will be asked to consider their feedback on three key areas: flow and duration of the game, tactical innovation and player enjoyment."
Concepts that will be explored will include over lengths - with a format of 20 five-ball overs now thought to be the favoured approach, after initial thoughts about 16 six-ball overs and a one-off ten-ball over. Other ideas that may be explored include bonus scoring periods, and the opportunity for bowlers to bowl consecutive overs.
"Feedback from the pilot days will form part of ECB's ongoing development of the new competition," the statement continued. "After their conclusion, analysis of the pilot days, alongside a range of wider insight, will help to further develop the format for the new competition."