A hundred reasons why it’s just not cricket | Letters

The Hundred format makes readers Phil Murray, John Fullard and Adrian Brodkin fear for the future of cricket

Thank you for Matthew Engel’s wonderfully entertaining but disturbingly accurate critique of the Hundred (C’mon you Popchips: why the Hundred is so hard to digest, 30 July). His description of the competition “sprawling across the short high summer like a wolfhound hogging a small sofa” was worth the monthly subscription by itself.

While I have only seen the Hundred action on TV, my overriding impression is that it is the inevitable outcome of the apparently desperate desire of sports authorities worldwide over the last two decades to present paying spectators with a sporting “experience package”, with all the associated razzmatazz of tweaked rules, intrusive music, distracting dancers, multicoloured outfits, bellowing announcers etc, in order to “engage” the audience, whose attention span is assumed to be minimal.

This “instant gratification” aspect of cricket presented in this truncated format may stay in the mind of spectators beyond the actual event itself, although I doubt it. If the Hundred does go from strength to strength, Engel is right that the talents of its participants will do little or nothing for the development – let alone the survival – of the long form of the game. A hollowed-out format, sponsored by manufacturers of a hollowed-out product, leading to a hollowed-out future for a once great game – a perfect match?
Phil Murray
Linlithgow, West Lothian

• As we can’t have six-ball overs in Hundred cricket, how about “fivers” and “tenners”? That would tie in neatly with the cash that the ECB is “spaffing” on this pointless competition.
John Fullard
Warminster, Wiltshire

• What a splendid – albeit depressing – appraisal of cricket’s new format by Matthew Engel. As cricket gets ever shorter and more dumbed-down, the reductio ad absurdum would be “the Fifty”, consisting of two-and-a-half overs of 20 balls each, played by teams with meaningless names, advertising deep-fried Mars bars. Over and out?
Adrian Brodkin

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