Jos Buttler believes the Hundred is “a huge part” of the future of English domestic cricket amid continued speculation over the tournament’s future, and urged the ECB to make the competition “the second-best domestic tournament in the world”, behind the IPL.
The Hundred is part of English cricket’s broadcast deal with Sky Sports, which runs until the end of 2028, and the ECB’s senior leadership – chief executive Richard Gould and chairman Richard Thompson – have both stated on the record that the tournament is going nowhere.
But Gould and Thompson were both hostile towards a city-based tournament while they held equivalent roles at Surrey, and reports have emerged throughout the summer suggesting that they are considering whether it is feasible to change the Hundred’s format, or potentially to merge it with the T20 Blast.
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As England’s limited-overs captain, Buttler’s voice holds considerable weight in discussions around the tournament’s future. In an interview with the Times newspaper, he threw his support behind the Hundred – though suggested that the format itself was secondary to its status as “a condensed, franchise tournament”.
“I know it’s complicated in England,” Buttler said. “We have the county system, which has been fantastic for so long, but with the direction of travel in the game I do feel the Hundred is a huge part of our future in England.
“Whether that’s a hundred balls or T20 or whatever it is, I think we need to have the second-best domestic tournament in the world. The IPL will be No. 1, naturally, but I think we need to do everything to make sure we have the second best, and to me that is a condensed, franchise tournament.”
Buttler believes that the Hundred can replicate the IPL in helping England’s best young players get a taste of what international cricket is like: it offers a higher standard than the T20 Blast due to the concentration of talent, and is played exclusively at international venues, often in front of strong crowds.
This season, Gus Atkinson, the Surrey fast bowler, clinched his spot in England’s provisional World Cup squad through impressive performances for Oval Invincibles in the Hundred, including a spell against Buttler’s Manchester Originals which saw him clocked at 95mph/153kph.
“Young players sense the opportunity,” Buttler said. “The Hundred mirrors as closely as we can get to international cricket with the condensed number of teams concentrating the talent. And mostly in front of packed houses, which mirrors what international cricket is really like. It gives you a good insight when guys perform and are likely to make the transition to international cricket.
“The Indian Premier League has been a good marker for that for years. If you can perform there, you can make the step up into international cricket. We see young Indian players make that transition very easily.
“I think that’s the really exciting thing for us in this country. We can have a competition that can be a really good yardstick.”