I’ve enjoyed watching cricket since my teenage years. Essex played county games annually in one of the parks in Southend-on-Sea near where I lived. I used to go with my friend, take a picnic and a book and then hassle the players for their autographs after the game. There were some famous ones in my album: David Gower, Viv Richards, Big Bird…. To be honest I haven’t watched much of the game in adulthood. The nearest first class ground is Taunton, a way away. And I don’t have a lot of time for telly. But I have been mesmerised by The Hundred
Now The Hundred is as far away from the traditional game as you can get. It would have W G Grace turning in his grave. No lily white kit. The players wear bright coloured clothing adorned with the name of their sponsors. These happen to be the makers of popular snacks. When I watch the game I tend to support the team which has the name of my favourite nibbles on their chests. The team with the Skips logo has no chance. Those things are devil food. The whole experience is more like US sport extravaganzas. Subtlety has been thrown out of the window. The games have a party atmosphere and are not the sedate affairs that I remember from those eighties county fixtures.
But it’s the play rather than the razzamatazz that’s the exciting thing. As the name suggests each team is limited to just one hundred balls per innings. With this restriction the batsmen take more chances than in a five day game. Often a ball gets thwacked onto the stadium roof or even ends up in neighbouring gardens. And with increased risk taking there’s much more for the bowlers and fielders to do in a short space of time. I’m enthralled and plans for 2023 involve getting tickets for a live game.