Cricket chiefs have claimed The Hundred will answer's English cricket's SOS call following the coronavirus crisis – although it won't be able to ride to the rescue until next year.
When it does finally appear, the new eight team, 100-ball, city based tournament that no other nation currently plays is set to be the answer to the prayers of a game that will be feeling the effects of Covid-19 for years to come.
The ECB confirmed that there will be no professional cricket in the UK until July 1 at the earliest, with the expectation that it will be made for TV with no fans watching live in the grounds.
And following a second board meeting on Wednesday the confirmation will arrive that these are not the conditions in which to launch a brand new format of the game designed to welcome new and existing audiences through the gates.
But with a financial black hole for the game to fill of up to £300 million if there is no cricket played at all, chief executive Tom Harrison made it emphatically clear how he hopes to strengthen the game after the crisis.
“We will come through this challenge,” said Harrison. “But there are going to be very severe implications for us, financially in particular. This is likely to have a long term impact on the game.
“If anything this crisis and its implications means the case for the hundred is even more important.
“It will generate really important commercial value for the game, and help us achieve the second of our three priorities which is keeping the lights on through the network, making sure county cricket is really healthy and strong long into the future.
“And it will help broaden the audience for the game. There will be a huge clamour for audience coming out of this crisis, for all sport. The competition goes up.
“So I don't think this in any way dilutes the case for the Hundred, it absolutely accelerates it and makes it something cricket needs to continue to get behind.
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