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“100 - I’m 100% in favour”

Cricket is at a turning point. The women’s game has the potential to be at the vanguard of something very special starting today. Celebrating this unique moment is so much more enriching than doing the opposite.

As Alex Hartley said it so succinctly: “if you don’t like the Hundred - don’t watch it”

Those of us for whom the sport has become “more than a game” need to recognise the opportunities that embracing the evolution could bring.

We can take note of the excited glee of a child captivated and inspired by the razamataz of the Hundred.

We can watch as a teenager points at a player they recognise from the telly.

We can soak up the music and the festival atmosphere and recognise it as a party to celebrate how adaptable cricket can be.

Let’s remember that T20 undoubtedly has brought a new audience to our sport. It may also be useful to point out that the England & New Zealand women played the first ever international in this format which now has its own ICC World Cups. In the same way that Rachael Heyhoe Flint “invented” a Cricket World Cup before it was taken on by the “establishment” for both genders several years later.

There are lessons from the past and from elsewhere in the world that we should note. Not least that in Australia the women’s BBL is now a stand alone tournament whose stars are celebrities recognised as role models & inspirations far beyond sport - let alone cricket.

I’m afraid men’s T20 in England has too often become beer inebriated blokes and the absolute opposite of “family friendly” & welcoming… if the 100 goes any way to wiping that slate clean and starting again then that’s enough for me.

I hope the “hooligans” & trolls stay away and that, if you can’t say anything supportive & encouraging then go find something you like better to do.

Although I know realistically that those involved on the pitch and behind the scenes, who have worked incredibly hard to bring this cricketing spectacular into not only our living rooms during COVID times but also into our imagination, will face unbelievable levels of direct and indirect abuse

My wish is that it may well “offer a bridge to the wider game” as Sam Morshead described it in The Cricketer.

I’m off to put my Birmingham Phoenix shirt on & settle down to watch the first game - a women’s match - on free to air tv.

Enjoy the 100.


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