London: England all-rounder Moeen Ali called for a year’s delay to the start of the new Hundred as officials met Wednesday to consider the fate of the controversial competition.
The England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) have long insisted the new 100-balls-per-side format, to be played by eight franchises rather than English cricket’s established 18 first-class counties, is vital in attracting a new audience to the game.
But with world cricket at a standstill due to the pandemic, Moeen fears that even if the Hundred does get the go-ahead, health and travel restrictions may make it impossible to bring in high-profile overseas stars.
“It is better for it to be delayed,” Moeen, set to captain the Birmingham Phoenix in the Hundred, said during a conference call on Wednesday.
“As players we want the Hundred played with all the best players around the world available to come and play so it makes more sense that way. It is probably going to be too much to squeeze in the last couple of months of the season.
“It would be hard work to squeeze in the Hundred as well. It is such a big deal for us in this country and we want it to be played when everything is right and there are no problems around the world.”
Last week, the ECB further delayed the start of the 2020 season until July 1 at the earliest. (AFP)